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Friday, October 16, 2009

Minestrone Soup

Do you have that one recipe that just seems to be what you are known for?  I do...that recipe for me is my Minestrone Soup.  If we go out to dinner and we see minestrone soup on the menu, my husband and I both look at eachother and say " We can't order it.  We won't like it.  We are spoiled!"  It just seems that no matter where we go no other minestrone soup will do.  I hope you try this recipe and see for yourself what we are talking about when we say "We are spoiled"!  Mangia!


  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3 TB. bacon chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 2 russett potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 - 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 TB. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 - 14 oz. can northern beans (drained)
  • 3 - 32 oz. can of chicken broth or chicken stock
  • 4 cups fresh spinach or escarole
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked small pasta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh grated parmesean cheese for garnish
  • Rustic bread (see recipe below)
  1. In large stock pot heat the olive oil.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes
  3. Add the bacon and cook for about 5 minutes
  4. Add carrots, celery and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes
  5. Add the tomatoes, oregano, rosemary, basil and crushed red pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the northern beans and chicken stock.  Simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper.
  8. Let simmer on stove for another 45 minutes.
  9. Add the spinach or escarole and give a good stir.
  10. I like to add the dried pasta to the soup at this point and continue on a simmer for 10 minutes or so until the pasta is done.  If you decide to do it this way you will have to add a bit more chicken broth to the leftovers the next day, as the noodles in the soup absorbs the chicken broth over night.  You could also cook the pasta in a seperate pot and add noodles to individual bowls when ready to serve.
  11. To serve:  ladle into a large soup bowl.  Sprinkle a good helping or fresh parmesean cheese on top.  Serve with a warm slice of rustic italian bread on the side (See recipe below)


While making this soup I decided I wanted some nice warm italian bread to serve on the side. Not wanting to go to the store I decided to make my own.  Once you taste this bread you will never want to buy italian bread from the store again!  Plus, this is super, super simple!

  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 TB. salt
  • 6 cups of all-purpose flour
  1. Soften yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water (110 degrees F)
  2. Gently stir yeast into water to dissolve.  Let stand for 10 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, put 1 3/4 cup of warm water and the salt into a large bowl
  4. Blend in 3 cups of sifted flour
  5. Add softened yeast to flour/water mixture and mix well
  6. Add about 1/2 of the reamining flour and mix with a wooden spoon until dough starts forming
  7. Mix in a little more flour to make a soft dough
  8. Place dough on a lightly floured surfce and let sit for about 10 minutes
  9. Knead the dough using the palms of  your hands and gently push dough away from you
  10. Continously knead dough for about 5 - 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic
  11. If dough becomes sticky add 1/2 TB. of flour
  12. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in a large greased bowl (  I use cooking spray)
  13. Turn dough once in bowl to coat with oil or cooking spray
  14. Cover the bowl with towl and let stand in a warm place for about 2 hours or until dough has doubled
  15. After 2 hours punch down dough and knead on lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes
  16. Cut dough into two equal balls and cover with towl for another 10 minutes
  17. Shape the balls into loaves and place on a greased ( or cooking spray) baking sheet
  18. Cover loaves with towel once again and set aside in a warm place until doubles
  19. Place dough into a pre-heated oven 425 degrees
  20. Bake bread for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees
  21. Bake 20 - 30 m inutes or until golden brown
To get the bread nice and crusty, place a flat pan of boiling water at the bottom of the oven during the baking period

* Recipe courtesy of :

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