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Minestrone Soup Help (ReVisited)

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hello All;
If you'll recall, I posted a request a while back asking for recipes for a good minestrone soup full of flavor. So far up to now, my soups seem to have too much of a veggie taste and not enough taste from herbs and spices like I get in all restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I love veggies - just don't like my broth to taste like them too. I'm going to start a new thread here rather than add to the old because the other thread is pretty long.

Soooo ... I tried to make Minestrone soup today and it turned out OK (My mother loved it and said it was flavorful) but I thought it could have been much better. I actually made two recipes - the vegetable broth (Thanks, Shel), and the Minestrone soup itself. I am going to list the ingredients and preparation below and I'd like folks to comment on what they think I could add to give it even more flavor. Btw, it is difficult to pinpoint what spice or herb I'm tasting in all of these soups I have at various restaurants but I don't think it's a very spicy flavor (I don't like things really spicy).

First the Vegetable broth (Provided by Shel)

3 med, 4 or 5 small, carrots - roughly chopped
1 medium or two small onions, chopped
(red onions add a bit of sweetness and also add reddish color)
2 ribs celery - chopped, leaves ok
1 small-med leek, white and a little green-white parts only
2 small - medium tomatoes, as fresh as possible
(in other words, don't get those insipid, out-of-season tomatoes
from Mexico, or crappy hot-house tomatoes), large dice *OR*
½ or more 14-oz can whole Muir Glen fire roasted
tomatoes with juice, chop tomatoes roughly
1/4 cup (small handful) Italian flat leaf parsley, sprigs & leaves
1 large Turkish bay leaf
8- 10 black or mixed peppercorns
(I use a pepper melange mix and add a few of the szechuan peppercorns)
½ dried chipotle pepper, quartered, seeds in *OR*
½ small dried Ancho pepper, *OR*
½ small, fresh jalapeno or other similar pepper (optional but adds a nice bite)
lately I've taken to using a small poblano pepper cut in rings and a few of it's seeds
1 1/2 - 2 quarts water
Add ingredients to water, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 35 - 45 minutes.
Let sit off heat for a while. Strain pressing on vegetables to extract all their flavor

And then the Minestrone Soup itself

CopyCat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup minced white onions (about 1 small onion) 1/2 cup chopped zucchini 1/2 cup frozen cut italian green beans 1/4 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk) 4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves) 4 cups vegetable broth (Swanson is good *note: Do not use chicken broth!*) I used Shel's broth, noit this one2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained 2 (15 ounce) cans small white beans or great northern beans, drained 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes 1/2 cup carrots, julienned or shredded 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 3 cups hot water 4 cups fresh baby spinach 1/2 cup small shell pasta

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  1. Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.
  2. Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.
  3. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  5. Makes about eight 1 1/2 cup servings.
One thing that drew me to this soup is that it starts by Sauteing garlic, onions, etc... in olive oil which was recommended by Siduri.

Anything you would change/add to give it even more flavor like you would find in a restaurant ? In one review a lady said she doubled the herbs/spices. In a few other reviews, a few folks said they added tomato sauce to give it the traditional red color of Minestrone soup. A few other reviews said they added red wine.

post #2 of 2
Add parmesan rind to the vegie stock.

Render some pancetta for fat to saute the soup vegies. Add the pancetta too. American bacon is good too. When finishing the saute, add some tomato paste and about 2x as much stock water as paste. Stir through and let the paste cook out a bit.

Saute the green beans and zucchini separately and add them in the last few minutes of soup simmering so they retain their character better. Otherwise they can turn to mush.

Finish with some pesto at the end in the bowls and a drizzle of olive oil.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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