Updated: Apr 26, 2021
The fabulous, and famous, Italian minestrone is derived from the word “minestra" whicjh means chunky or big. Traditionally, this soup was made with slow simmered dried beans as the base, thick with vegetables, potatoes, starchy roots, pasta and the ever present Parmesan cheese. This soup was usually thick enough to be served a stew and was sufficient for dinner. This modern version is a far cry from the original, light, full of flavor and with fresh beans, this is the perfect easy spring and summer soup. It has the basic elements (barely), fresh edamame for beans, carrots, pasta, and tons of parsley for flavor. This soup is one of my favorites! I have been subscribing to Bon Appetit magazine for many a year now, I love the magazine for its diversity of wonderful recipes. I saw this soup and hat to make it immediatel, literally, I went to the store and bought the ingredients and made the soup. It has been on my yearly rotation of recipes ever since.
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3 tablespoons olive oil 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved and finely sliced ½ small fennel bulb, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon fennel (Saunf) toasted and crushed ½ small yellow onion, finely chopped 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, or water 2 small carrots, peeled, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline, or cut into thin batons 1 cup fresh shelled peas or edamame beans or frozen
2 large bunches spinach
1 small zucchini, finely diced Salt and white pepper to taste ½ cup fregola, ditalini, or other tiny pasta
1½ cups (lightly packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 3 shallots or 3 scallions, finely chopped
Shaved Parmesan (Omit for vegan version)
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook leek, fennel, yellow onion, and celery, stirring occasionally, until softened but not taking on any color, about 5 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are just tender, 10 minutes.
Add carrots and peas and simmer until carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Wilt the spinach leaves in hot water for 1 minute, or in the microwave for 3 minutes. Cool and chop finely. Add to the soup with the zucchini.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and add pasta to soup.
While pasta is cooking, process parsley and and shallots or scallions to s smooth paste in a small blender with a touch of cooled soup broth. Add to the soup and mix in.
Serve hot with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.