Monday, March 19, 2012

Minestrone alla Romagna

This is almost an old family recipe. I say almost, because what I'm actually following is Marcella Hazan's recipe, which is a close imitator of my Italian-American grandmother's Manasta.
A note on spelling: my mother's family is from Southern Italy (Abruzzo to be precise), but they emigrated over a hundred years ago. So our current grasp on Italian is filtered through dialect and a hundred years of Americanization in Western New York and Pennsylvania. So we've called it manasta. I've read enough Italian recipes now to figure out the root (minestra=soup) and we seem to be in the same place.

Also, Romagna isn't anywhere near Abruzzo, so I don't know how the soups ended up quite so similar. It's way the heck up north. Oh well.


2 stalks of celery, diced
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, sliced thin
1 potato, diced
1/2 lb green beans, ends snapped off and halved.
2 zucchini, diced

2 cups of shredded cabbage.
1 can of Italian tomatoes
Parmesan cheese rinds
Romano cheese.
salt, pepper, and olive oil
2 cans of beef broth


Consider the actual list of vegetables here only a suggestion. It's really rather flexible. But the goal here is to add them one at a time, giving each time to sauté before adding the next, about two minutes. I started with celery, onions, and carrots; then the potato; added zucchini and green beans; and finally the cabbage.

Once all that's warmed up, add in the broth to turn this whole thing into soup. The soup is flavorful enough that I usually end up adding water to cover everything at this point. Then in go the beans and the tomatoes (either a can of San Marzanos or a box of Pomi). Toss in whatever cheese rinds you have, they'll flavor the entire pot.

Now, we wait. Sadly, the soup is a solid two hours away from being done, and there's plenty of reducing to do. The soup shouldn't be water, but thick, with vegetables really integrated. You'll know when it's time, if you're not opposed to sampling as necessary.

Top with a little grated Romano cheese.


  1. I always have parmesan cheese rind in the freezer for adding to soups and stews!

    1. I've found a place to buy them, which means I go through even more of them. And while many recipes say to take them out when the cooking is done, I eat them.

    2. Oh, and I left them out of the recipe anyway. Fixed now.