As the cold weather quickly approaches, we wanted to share one of Frank & Margaret Isernio’s favorite winter-time recipes: Italian Minestra. This is one of those delicious meals that is healthy, tastes wonderful and the vegetables used can be customized based on any picky eaters you may have in your home. Still running around finishing last minute holiday shopping? This also works well to make ahead and reheat on those busy weeknights when you need something fast.
You can make it thick or thin, depending on how much chicken broth you add. Freezes well and tastes even better the next day reheated. Why not take some to work with you tomorrow?
You can also add any short-cut pasta (like Ditalini) to make this into a Minestrone soup.
- 4 Isernio’s Italian Sausages or 1lb. bulk roll (Hot or mild, pork or chicken)
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 2 Stalks Celery, halved lengthwise and chopped
- 1 Large Carrot, peeled, quartered lengthwise and chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- 1 Tbsp. fresh Rosemary, finely chopped or 1 tsp. dried
- 1 Tbsp. fresh Sage, finely chopped or 1 tsp. dried
- 1 Tbsp. fresh Fennel Pollen (optional)
- 1 Tsp. Red Pepper flakes (omit if using hot sausage)
- 1 15-oz can Italian style plum tomatoes, with juice, squeezed by hand or broken up in pot with a wooden spoon
- 2-3 Cups low salt Chicken Broth
- 1 Bunch fresh Kale, chopped in 1″ pieces
- 1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
- 2-3 Zucchini, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
- 1 16-oz can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed in colander
- 3 Tsp. Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
- 4-6 Tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 Bunch fresh Chard or Spinach, chopped in 1″ pieces
- 2 Cups fresh Cabbage, chopped in 1″ pieces
- 1 Cup Green Beans, fresh or frozen cut in 1/2″ pieces
- 1 Cup frozen Peas
- 1 Cup frozen Corn
- 1 Cup Squash or Pumpkin, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
- 1 Cup Potato or Yam, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
- 1 Fresh Fennel Bulb, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
- 1 16-oz. can Garbanzo, Black, Pinto, Red, Adzuki or type of canned beans.
- In large 13 quart pot, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, celery, carrot, and cook until semi-soft, 10-12 minutes. Then add garlic and salt and cook 2 minutes.
- Add the sausage (remove the casings if using links), rosemary, sage, fennel pollen and hot pepper flakes (if using) and cook until the meat loses its pinkness.
- Add the tomatoes with all liquid, breaking them up with a wooden spoon into 3/4 inch chunks.
- Add the chicken broth and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. While the stew is simmering, clean the kale and chop all the remaining vegetables.
- Add all chopped vegetables and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until peppers and zucchini soften.
- Add the Cannellini beans and simmer another 5 minutes. Taste for more salt or pepper as needed.
- Ladle into bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese. Serve with crusty, toasted Italian bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.