minestrone

as a child, i didn’t really like soups. today however, i could live off them. especially soups with chunks in them, and lots and lots of vegetables, such as a good and honest minestrone. a minestrone, you must know, is not just a starter. no, it’s a full on dish, and it deserves to be treated as such. it gets you to use all veggie leftovers from your fridge. and, another plus of this minestrone in particular: it’s equally tasty in winter as in summer. in winter, it’s nice and warming. and in summer it’s light and provides you with enough salt after a hot, sunny day. and it can be adapted according to availability and seasonality of veggies. easy!
minestrone
serves four to six

ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large peperoncino, medium spice, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large potatoe, cut in cubes
1 piece of sedano (celery bulb), chopped
1 celery rib, chopped

1/2 zucchini, cut in cubes
5-6 tomatoes, in chunks, or 1 can italian pelati tomatoes
1 handful of green beans, cut in 2cm pieces
1 handful of white or black kidney beans, soaked overnight and precooked or alternatively canned ones
1 cup chopped cabbage (if you have one, i think we didn’t)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 liters water
vegetable bouillon
1 pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, a few drops of juice and / or a bit of the zest, if you like (my mom objects, though)
fresh herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, minced), stalks and herbs (or quickly turned into a pesto, if you have the time)
parmiggiano reggiano or pecorino sardo
directions:
in a large saucepan, saute the ‘hard’ veggies: carrots, celery stalks, sedano, potatoes and zucchini together with onion, garlic and peperoncino in oil for about 5 minutes. that way, the vegetables develop more fragrance. add tomatoes, water, bouillon and the rest of the vegetables (i.e. the beans or any other vegetables you will want to use, such as cabbage, spinach, bell peppers… no limits). now is also the time to add herbs stalks for fragrance (add the minced leaves only before serving so as not to spoil the vitamins). add one pinch of sugar to fight the acidity of the fresh tomatoes. excursus: long, long simmering of the soup also helps against acidity… so: patience! heat everything through. stir in salt and pepper as well as a drizzle of lime to taste. sprinkle with herbs or a teaspoon of pesto. serve hot with some parmiggiano reggiano or pecorino sardo to grate. 
note: some recipes suggest you use a piece of pancetta and saute it at the beginning. i pass on that one, since i’m not a big fan of pork, nor the taste of it. the minestra will do fine without it, not to worry. the pecorino adds a little spice and salt at the end, which we all love. buon appetito! 
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