“Beautiful soup, rich and green, waiting in a hot tureen.” ~ Alice in Wonderland
As the days get shorter and the nights cooler, there is nothing more satisfying than a hearty bowl of soup—green, red, yellow, or whatever. Soup not only warms the innards, it soothes body and spirit.
Louis De Gouy wrote that soup “dispels the depressing effects of a grueling day, rain or snow in the streets, or bad news in the papers.” For a lot of those reasons, this minestrone soup has become my go-to vegetable soup. Though the ingredient list is long, the assembly is not complicated. If you have a sou-chef around your kitchen to help with the chop-chop, it’s a breeze.
With this colorful mélange steaming in your bowl, all you need is a chunk of sourdough bread or a French baguette and you have a perfect one-dish meal for a cool evening. A glass of Chianti or Shiraz wouldn’t hurt. If there’s any soup left in the pot, it will be even better the second day and will also freeze well. Recipe here.
(Confession: I left out the tortellini this time, though I often use a short, tubular pasta, like tubetti instead. I also substituted green beans for the zucchini without any flavor damage.)
Minestrone was originally a peasant food composed of a hodgepodge of leftovers, a loose recipe made with seasonal vegetables. One of the earliest versions, appears in a Roman cookbook from 30 A.D. Later versions introduced tomatoes and potatoes into the mixture. Writer Willa Cather described such a soup as a “constantly refined tradition.” Minestrone is, indeed, a vintage soup with thousands of years of history in each pot.