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Salt & Wind Travel

Minestrone Verde | Spring Minestrone Soup

Sometimes the most obvious things are those that get most overlooked. As a travel company that focuses on Italy, we put together the list of our favorite classic Italian recipes. But when we put that list together, we forgot one majorly popular recipe: minestrone! Well, here you are, my personal attempt to right that wrong.   

What Is Authentic Minestrone Soup?

First up, you may be wondering a few basic things about minestrone, like how the heck do you pronounce minestrone? How do you make minestrone from scratch? What is the difference between vegetable soup and minestrone? And is the minestrone at Olive Garden authentic? 

Minestrone — pronounced minh-eh-stroh-neh, by the way — is much like chicken soup in the United States. Minestrone is one of those dishes that has endless recipes with variations in different Italian regions and from family to family. At its most basic minestrone — which literally translates to “big soup” — is a brothy soup loaded with vegetables, and it’s straightforward to make it from scratch.

Like so many Italian recipes, the technique is simple, but a few key tips and quality ingredients make it go from ho-hum to exceptional. While the minestrone at Olive Garden is, by all means, a minestrone, I find it to be too tomatoey, too acidic, and salty for my personal taste. 

So, what Is Minestrone Verde then?

This is pretty much a recipe I fabricated over the years. It’s a variation on a classic Italian Spring soup recipe. Spring soups are recipes that don’t seem to get nearly enough love IMO. But, if you have my cookbook, you’ve probably come across the Fava Bean and Farro Soup, which is one of my all-time favorite Spring soups. The only issue is that as a traditional Italian recipe and, tbh, it’s involved to make. 

Over the years, I’ve morphed that recipe and came up with another version of it that I call a Minestrone Verde. To be totally clear, this is not a recipe you’ll come across when you travel to Italy. There is technically a soup called Minestrone Verde from Italy’s Puglia region, but it’s more of a winter soup, whereas this is a Spring take on classic Minestrone that I’ve created here.

How Do Make Minestrone Soup Flavorful?

The problem with many minestrone recipes is that they’re quick and easy, but it means the soup is seriously bland. The key to a delicious minestrone comes down to the quality of ingredients and a few key tips. First things first, to make your minestrone really tasty, you want to focus on making the broth as flavorful as possible.

You add parsley stems and cheese rinds to make a silky, complex parsley parmesan broth in this recipe. It couldn’t be simpler to make and is a great way to use up leftover parsley and cheese rinds! Also, if you want even more flavor and you like slow-roasted garlic as much as I do, you could use the garlic-infused oil and a few of the confit garlic cloves in place of the standard garlic. 

Once you have the broth made, the soup is super simple: add in baby potatoes and loads of vegetables, and that’s it! This is a recipe we love to turn to when we want food that’s 100% Spring but still comforting. Translation: this soup recipe is perfect for rainy spring days. Over the years, I’ve made it with asparagus and snap peas, but this combination of zucchini, peas, and potatoes has just enough of the classic Minestrone ingredients to make it feel like a welcome update.

No matter how you make it, it promises you’ll stir in the pistachio parsley gremolata because it’s bursting with flavor and make the dish go from great to incredible. 

Now go stock up on all your cooking essentials, then head into the kitchen, make this, and share it with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Spring Minestrone Soup Recipe

{Minestrone Verde} Spring Minestrone Soup Recipe

One soup that deserves all the attention is this Spring take on minestrone soup made with a parmesan broth, baby potatoes, loads of spring vegetables, and topped with a pistachio parsley gremolata.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Calories 343 kcal

Ingredients
  

For The Gremolata:

  • 1 bunch (about 1 ounce) packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and stems stems reserved for soup
  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios or raw almonds
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 medium garlic cloves smashed and divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt

For The Minestrone:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
  • 1 medium yellow onions finely chopped
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 12 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 pound baby potatoes halved
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with rind
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 8 ounces haricots vert ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 medium zucchini quartered lengthwise then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen shelled sweet peas
  • 1 pound fresh fava beans or 2 cups frozen lima beans

For Serving:

  • Toasted crusty country bread

Instructions
 

  • Make The Gremolata: Combine all the parsley leaves (reserve the stems for the soup), pistachios or almonds, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon juice, and a splash of water in a food processor or blender.
    Process until smooth, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in lemon zest, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add enough water to make the mixture loose like a pesto. 
    TIP: The gremolata can be made up to two days ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.
  • Blanch The Fava Beans: Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, fill a bowl halfway with ice water, and shell the fava beans. When the water is ready, drop the beans into the water, and boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
    Transfer to ice water until cool. Drain, then remove the fava skins by splitting open the skin and squeezing out the bean. Meanwhile, start the soup.
    TIP: The fava beans can be blanched up to two days ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container. If you use the lima beans, you can skip this step.
  • Make The Minestrone Broth: Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. When it shimmers, add onion and garlic, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add all the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
    Tie parsley stems together with kitchen string and pot with parmesan rind (reserve the rest of cheese for garnish) and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. 
    TIP: The soup can be made through this step up to four days ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to proceed.
  • Add the zucchini and haricots verts and cook until the beans are bright green and just tender for about 10 minutes. Add fava beans and peas, and cook until the peas and beans are bright green, about 2 minutes.
    Discard parsley and cheese rind and add more salt and black pepper to taste.
    TIP: The soup can be made through this step up to two days ahead of time. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to proceed.
  • Serve The Soup: Divide the soup into bowls, top with a dollop of gremolata and shavings of cheese, and serve with bread, additional cheese, and gremolata passed on the side. Stir in the gremolata just before eating. 

PERSONAL NOTES

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 13gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gSodium: 36mgPotassium: 1067mgFiber: 12gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1544IUVitamin C: 69mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Spring Soup
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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