Before the recipe, a lesson in etymology:
The word minestrone originates from the Latin word minestrare meaning: "That which is served."
You're likely to be familiar with the popular version of minestrone soup, which includes vegetables, beans, meat (and sometimes also noodles). But minestrones range from thick soups with heavily cooked-down vegetables, to lighter broths with vegetable pieces (sometimes with a meat and/or bean base).
Regardless of its modern day ingredients, the style of soup (or zuppa) is reported to have come from Italy, and belongs to the style of cooking called cucina povera (poor kitchen); meaning dishes which have rural or rustic roots. It's a make-do-with-whatever-ingredients-you-have-on-hand kinda soup, and I love it for that!
As a German proverb says:
"It's better to have no spoon than to have no soup."
- 1 small onion
- 2 large potatoes
- 2 large carrots
- 450g butternut
- 10 green beans
- 1/8 tsp garlic flakes
- 2 tsp salt crystals
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (whole)
- 8 fresh basil leaves (whole)
- 2 small, very mild green chillies (chopped with seeds)
- Garnish: fresh basil and chives
- Optional: raw cashew nuts and olive oil
- Chop all vegetables into small pieces and toss into a medium sized pot.
- Add the salt, garlic flakes and very mild chillies. Also add the fresh rosemary sprigs and 8 basil leaves (whole).
- Pour over just enough boiling water to cover the vegetables and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Remove the two rosemary sprigs, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh basil and chives.
- If you'd like to enrich the soup, you can drizzle it with olive oil and toss in a palmful of raw cashew nuts.
- This recipe makes enough for four people.