Minestrone, a thick vegetable soup, is a prime example of cucina povera cooking. Common ingredients include pasta, beans, tomato, celery, carrots and onions, but because there is no set recipe, you can use your favorite vegetables that are in season. Like many Italian dishes, the original minestrone was probably not made for its own sake, but the ingredients were pooled from available left-overs. There are also vast regional differences – Minestrone alla Genovese has pesto in it, but the Milanese version contains potatoes, bacon and pork rind. Minestrone soup can be served cold, too.
1 onion, sliced
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 large carrot or 3 small, in cubes
1.5 l/6 1/3 cups cold vegetable stock
3 tbsp tomato puree
3-5 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
200 gr/7 oz peas
200 gr/7 oz brown beans
100 gr/3.5 oz spaghetti
fresh parsley, chopped
100 gr/ 3.5 oz bacon (optional)
Slice all the vegetables. Saute the onion, garlic, leek, zucchini and carrots in a pan. Add the cold vegetable stock and the tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper, and add the bay leaves. Let the soup simmer on a low heat for ca. 45 minutes. Half way through, add the Parmigiano rind. Add the spaghetti together with the peas and beans after 45 minutes and let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes. If necessary, add water. Garnish each plate with fresh parsley. Serve with Italian countryside bread.