Minetsra in Italian means “soup” and minestrone means a “thick soup.” Even though this soup is hearty, it is a garden full of vegetables so it’s great for the mind, body and soul. Enjoy a big bowl with a generous slice of bread on a cold day, or serve it in the company of good family and friends.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- ⅔ cup dried cannellini (white kidney) beans
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 small dried red chile or ¼ teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
- 1 slice of ¼-inch-thick prosciutto, about 4 ounces, cut into ¼–inch dice (do not trim off the fat)*
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into ½–inch dice
- 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 celery ribs, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 small carrots, cut into ½-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
- Rind from a 1-pound chunk of Parmesan cheese, about 6-by-2 inches This is a surprising, but essential flavoring – just cut the rind off a big chunk
- 1½ cups packed thinly sliced kale or Swiss chard leaves, thick stems removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Store-bought pesto for serving
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- At least 4 hours before cooking the soup, put the beans in a large bowl and add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Let soak for at least 4 hours and no longer than 8 hours.
- Or bring the beans and water to cover by 2 inches to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand 1 hour.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Bring the drained beans, 5 cups water, the garlic, bay leaf and chile to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with the lid slightly ajar.
- Simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes, depending on the age of the beans.
- Cook the prosciutto and oil together in a soup pot over medium heat just until the prosciutto is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the onion and leeks.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the celery, carrots, garlic and oregano, and cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes more.
- Add the zucchini and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and their liquid and the tomato paste, bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Add the broth, the beans and their liquid, and the Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Simmer until the flavors are blended, about 1 hour.
- Stir in the kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the Parmesan rind.
- Ladle into soup bowls, and top each serving with a spoonful of pesto and a drizzle of oil.
- Serve hot, with the grated Parmesan cheese passed at the table.
*The Minestrone Soup we serve in our restaurants is vegetarian, and does not include the prosciutto.
Each Carrabba’s location makes this soup fresh daily. Whenever you’re craving it, but don’t have time for this recipe, just swing on by for a cup or bowl for either dine in or carry out.