Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Italian style~

This week's soup from our Slow Travel Soupers is actually a recipe from It is a warm and filling Italian Minestone. I am also going to use this as my Italian recipe for Maryann and Marie's 2nd annual Festa Italiana~ I can't resist an Italian party! Last year I took Tiramisu for everyone.
The base of this soup is an Italian soffritto~ pancetta, onion, and celery. This is all slowly cooked down to develop the flavor. A small amount of tomato paste is browned, then mixed in with more tomatoes and the rind of parmesan cheese. The greens, beans, and pasta are added in the end for a soup that is nothing less than perfetto!

Italian Minestrone

1/3 lb sliced pancetta, chopped
3 medium red onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch Swiss chard
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
1 qt hot water
5 cups coarsely chopped cored Savoy cabbage (6 oz)
5 cups coarsely chopped escarole (1/2 lb)
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (about 3 by 1 1/2 inches)
1 (19-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
cooked ditalini pasta tossed with oil
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cook pancetta, onions, celery, and carrots in oil in a wide 7- to 9-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, while preparing chard.
Cut out stems from chard and chop stems, reserving leaves. Stir chard stems into pancetta mixture with garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and begin to stick to bottom of pot, about 45 minutes total. (Set aside chard leaves.)
Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir paste into vegetables and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. (Paste may stick to pot, but don’t let it burn.)
Stir in tomatoes with their juice, breaking them up with a spoon, then add hot water (3 qt), scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot.
Bring to a simmer. Stir in cabbage, escarole, and parmesan rind. Simmer, covered, until greens are tender, about 40 minutes.
Coarsely chop chard leaves and stir into soup along with beans. Simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Discard rind. Season soup with salt and pepper. If using ditalini, stir in just before serving.

Don't y'all think this is the perfect dish to take to the Festa Italiana? I wonder what everyone else will be bringing? You have until March 9th to join the party.

Ciao y'all


Shirley said...

I got this exact recipe from the Relish Magazine that comes with my local paper only it was called Winter Minestrone. I made it last week and it's delicous. It's also posted on my blog.

marty39 said...

Oh now this just looks and sounds sooooo good. Thanks for sharing the recipe. This one I will definitely try. Hugs, Marty

Darius T. Williams said...

I love a good Italian feast - I did lasagna today...your looks great!

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that you joined us once again!
Maryann xox

Proud Italian Cook said...

Sandi, This IS the perfect dish to bring to our festa! I love all your ingredients, yumm!! Thanks so much for joining us!
xox, Marie

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Shirley~ it does look like the same recipe! It was found on the Gormet website.
Marty~ Let us know when you do
Darius T~ It's been a while! Glad you stopped by
Maryann &Marie~ thank you for hosting the party! There are lots of great recipes I need to try.

nancyhol said...

Good job, Sandi! Lovely photos!

a woman who is said...

This sounds more authentic than my version. mmmmm

Wheelchair said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Wheelchair Transportation

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