What do you put in yours? What makes the difference between that and vegetable soup?
To me minestrone is a type of tomato-based veggie soup. It can be a little heartier with the addition of pasta, rice and/or beans. I've added pancetta or meatballs to mine, such as a meatball minestrone soup with pasta (cheese tortellini). So there you go...not so veggie but good.
Mine is a tomato based vegetable soup with the addition of beans and a small amount of small pasta. Oddly enough, I found little bags of all kinds of shapes of tiny pasta in my Mexican grocery.
There may be no difference in the various ingredients, but just the origin of name. Minestrone is the name of vegetable soup in another language
To me it’s the sprinkle of Parmesan that turns vegetable soup into minestrone.
Mine tastes different than my vegetable soup. It has a chicken or veggie stock base, rather than a tomato base. Herbs and a drop or three of olive oil make it different. Also large veggie chunks, rather than chopped. Tomatoes, red peppers, yellow onions, zucchini, celery, carrots, a little wine, garbanzoes. Plus whatever else. No starch, served with crusty bread.
I've learned not to put the pasta into the soup if you want to have it again then next day or freeze it for leftovers. I use ditilini, if I use pasta at all. It turns into a thick casserole.
The word minestrone comes from a Latin root for soup.My vegetable soup is usually on a beef stock base....with just a few whole tomato chunks...and onions, celery, carrots, peas, green beans, rutabega and okra...just a little okra salt pepper and parsley and bay.
My minestrone had a decidedly tomato base...the broth is red, more tomatoes, and beans, no rutabega nor okra but has oregano and basil and the rest of the assortment of veggies....and some cooked pasta added just before serving, garnished with fresh parm.
My vegetable soup has chuck roast in it, every vegetable I can find, beans, green beans corn, peas, carrots, celery, cabbage, sweet peppers, onions, potatoes and anything else that is on hand.
I think it has to have the Italian type spices of garlic, basil and oregano in a tomato based vegetable soup and a small pasta.
In my kitchen minestrone is an early Fall soup when I still have some summer fresh harvest. Always has a mixed grain, a few soaked dried beans of the white/light varieties, and a small pasta shape. All cooked ahead and separate. The broth is clear/pink from the addition of a fresh finely chopped tomato. Or a whole frozen garden tomato. Crushed fine/coarse in the cuisinart.
A parm rind in the broth, fresh fluffy parm at the table. A handful of chefinade chard, kale, collards. Added the last 10-15 min.
To me anyway, it is not dominated by any one ingredient. No big hunks of meat, meatballs, sausage....a bit of prosciutto, pancetta, a finely diced slice of bacon, etc added at the sofrito stage is fine.
This is a great primer I stumbled across. Link, HERE (No annoying pop-ups) A lawyer that loves cooking dedicated to his Italian mother and grandmother.
I use what I have for the fresh veg and never follow a recipe. Sofrito ingredients, grains, dried bean, various pasta,....I alway have in my pantry.
Just another soup that has many variations. But a soupspoon full should get a bit of all ingredients in one bite.
When I freeze these types of soups for a neighbor or my parents, I chill the soup veg base in pint containers, then add chilled grains and pasta just before freezing. They hold up to heating from frozen. Fresh greens tucked in also freeze well. Top off with a bit of water before freezing if the broth liquid has evaporated/concentrated.
In Italian, minestra means soup. The suffix -one means large.
In addition to tomato, I add spinach, zucchini, navy beans, and pasta.
^Yes to spinach often for me, too.
It's still pretty hot here but this thread has me thinking about making minestrone.
I forgot the greens in my list! Thanks for the reminder. :)
^^literal translations makes no sense and drives me nuts.
Minestroni has a very specific wide range of 'soup' depending on the region in Italy. It is traditionally, depending on region, a rough simple broth soup consisting of local vegetables in season with additions of grain, soaked dried beans, and a small shaped pasta. It is the combination that makes it 'minestrone'.
I make it my way, Nona makes it her way. Vegetables, grain, beans, pasta. Small enough veg that a soup spoonful has all veg and grain/bean/pasta is in every spoonful.
Good grief. 😂
No. Not a fancy name at all. Make a vegetable soup your way all you want and care to. No elevated culinary experiences needed. A basic home soup using what is in the larder. An Italian grandmother soup using the local produce available. Basic minestrone has pantry basics. All in the pot.
Make your vegetable soup the way you want. The way you like it. Good grief, how many times one can say that.
Looks like this is drifting into: authentic.
To me, there's a particular flavor that Minestrone has that makes it a particular flavor of vegetable soup. No disagreement with Sleevendog, here, just saying what the word means to me. Whether it's the canned my mother used for quickies when I was a child or the truly wonderful soup that the native Italian restauranteur at out favorite bistro made himself (and taught me that it's better with big chunks), there's an identifiable through line. A few years back, I had trouble duplicating this flavor, and still haven't found a particular something, other than the gestalt of it all.
Hubby loved Habitant soup and we'd buy the vegetable and minestrone. The minestrone has baby pasta shells and kidney beans in it. That is the only difference.
I also prefer gumbo to minestrone and make gumbo more often. I had a French (Creole or Cajun) grandmother but no Italian ancestors, except for my Italian Swiss GGGM. She spoke German instead of Italian, however.
For me minestrone is easier to make, however.
Well, let's not talk about Cincinnati Chili!!
I'm not sure but don't remember ever having gumbo. If I have it was long ago when I worked with a some good Cajun and Creole cooks. We'd have pot lucks and they brought some tasty dishes. I wasn't sure about the diff between Cajun and Creole. Sounds like Creole's more tomato-based...?
Growing up, we never had any soup unless it came out of a can :-) My mom was a more than adequate cook but homemade soups were never on her radar.
But as soon as I learned to cook, I started making soups so none are particularly exotic or foreign. Borscht, avgolemono, albondigas, French onion, egg drop, pho, minestrone - they are all a part of my soup repertoire.
Minestrone has a distinct flavor - to me - that sets it apart from ordinary vegetable soup. Exact ingredients will vary widely but always has some sort of dried bean component and a small pasta. Typically a tomato base and with liberal use of Italian seasonings - oregano, garlic, thyme, basil or even pesto. Some sort of fresh greens added at the last minute. And of course the Parmesan rind included with cooking and the shaved Parmesan included as a garnish. I prefer mine with some added protein and sweet Italian sausage is usually my go-to.
Sherry and/or Lars - please start a thread for Gumbo. I've never had it. I only know it has okra in it - poor ignorant me. I grow okra for pickling (50 pounds of it last season - none this year because of new farming plan and have lots of jars on the shelf and saved seeds for 2021). My DD loved eating it raw right from the tall plants. I'd really like to know how to make a good authentic gumbo.
"And of course the Parmesan rind included with cooking..."
I keep the rinds in the freezer to have on hand for that. A dollop of pesto is another nice garnish. Ina G has a good recipe for Winter Minestrone with Garlic Bruschetta. The bruschetta is a tasty garnish.
Sherry, I don't know if you're reading still, I don't know what you want us to say! Sleevendog gave a link to a long blog post that explains minestrone. I said what minestrone means to me. Many others said what it means to them. You said that you had no tradition of making minestrone soup but you make vegetable soup. It all sounds like the same discussion and I don't get what the bone of contention is. It's obvious that you're upset, but I don't know what you were asking for. Do you want a great recipe? I don't have one of my own yet. I want it to taste like the one I loved but the maker died long before I would have thought to try to cajole the recipe from him.
Here's another good post from The Kitchn, kind of opposite to S's link. This is from someone who borrowed from others (no grandmother) then did her own thing. https://www.thekitchn.com/minestrone-soup-22971183
Here is an "Italian Food Ambassador" demonstrating what looks like a very classic minestrone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BqQXzV8OxY&ab_channel=Vincenzo%27sPlate
Gardengal's post makes me want to start a new thread on Soup!!! I only make a couple of soups........Zuppa Toscana which I love, a chicken noodle and a creamy vegetable soup. All for the freezer. I should make more kinds.
I tried making French Onion a couple of times but I can't get the flavour I want. Hubby and I went to a restaurant that was going to be our go-to for anniversaries, and it was the best we'd had.
Jasdip, that is the great thing about soups! I swear you could make soup on a weekly basis for an entire year and never have to repeat yourself....maybe even 2 years......3 :-) There is such a range of possible ingredients and flavor combinations that you have unlimited possibilities to work with.
And they are easy to make. And in many cases, a great way to use up leftovers. But I confess to getting lazy in my old age. My local grocery store makes their own soups and they are quite wonderful - as good as I could make myself. So I often indulge myself buying a pint of whatever sounds good when passing. For the most part, they are soup standards so I save my make at home soups for something a little more exotic.
Today I am making beef vegetable soup. It will be full of lots of stuff, no pasta in this. I never even heard of spaghetti or pizza till I was in my 30's. :)
Minestrone to me is an Italian riff on the nourishing vegetable/bean/meat/grain based soups that are common in almost every culture around the world. The idea is careful preparation of simple, common, nutritious and inexpensive ingredients to make some type of comfort soup, which benefits from a little time spent melding on the back burner. My own signature soup is called "Vegetarian Comfort Soup" and is meant to have the role of chicken soup in my home, something comforting, healthful and made by a loved one. I make Vegetarian Comfort Soup with yellow split peas, and chicken style TVP and egg noodles. That's not minestrone in my book. Neither is chili, although it has many ingredients in common with minestrone. Chili gets the name from the seasoning but it can be used in a gazillion ways with several other kinds of complimentary seasonings. Chili peppers can even add zing to minestrone . . .
Yesterday I made minestrone. The base was a classic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot. The beans were soaked great northerns. I can't get dried cannellini beans anymore at the grocery store.
The broth was a little left over chicken broth mixed with some vegetable bouillon. The seasonings were garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaf. Some dried parsley and a couple of leaves of kale I had languishing in the fridge. I use almost exclusively dried herbs at this point, don't grow them yet and can't afford fresh, but a bouquet garni would have been nice too, very "authentic" country style preparation at this time of year. I added about three tomatoes from the garden that were getting past their prime and a half a can of V8 juice.
These soups often have a highly seasoned inexpensive meat added. I'm mostly vegetarian but had two mild Italian sausages that were left over from a meal I made for my meat eating Dad and husband so I sauteed them, broke them up, drained and blotted the fat, and added them to the soup. I often chop up a few vegetarian sausages when I make this soup.
I had some left over rice which I added to make the soup heartier, but it wasn't quite enough, so I added some orzo. It tastes fabulous, and the slow cooked layering of flavors and nutrition makes it the perfect comfort food to have made on a grey rainy day. In the interest of nutrition, I am now more prone to adding farro or whole barley or brown rice to these kinds of soups as opposed to pasta, but I still like pasta in them too.
Minestrone is a "big soup"...like you can make a meal of it. Many soups are starter soups, like for a first course, but a proper minestrone has some meat and some dried beans and pasta as well as the usual requisite vegetables.I have no Italian relatives, nor any creole nor cajun for that matter....pure northern European....but I sure knew what spaghetti, minestrone, gumbo and Moo goo gai pan were. And my growing up was lots longer ago then your growing up. There is no need to get angry because you perhaps led an insular life and weren't exposed to certain food traditions that some others were. Remember Google is your friend, there are many recipes for minestrone that would give you an idea of some flavor profiles
Jim Mat — funny.
I also think of minestrone with the Parmesan rind in it (or even a very rock hard piece of Parmesan. And I prefer to cook the pasta separately, then add as needed so that the pasta doesn’t bloat. Oh, and often with a soup like that, I add just a drizzle of good EVOO to the top of the bowl before I eat it (to each his her own).
Soups are the easiest dishes to make and you can have fun, be creative and or practical — what’s in your pantry, fridge or garden. You can make it towards the clear and light (broth) or more robust and hearty, dense or muddied broth.
About the only way to goof is to add too much salt — I go light on that; one can always add more later to individual bowls.
You can use your own broth or use jarred. And, if you’re like me and begin to get sleepy, you can just take a rest and set it in the fridge (or if in a cold climate, in a cold garage or sheltered porch.
Soon, I plan to make a low fat leek and potato soup (Vichyssoise). A couple of weeks ago I made pasta e fagioli and used some of the garden vegetables. Yum.
Someday I’d like to make avgolemono and a matzo ball soup, and maybe gumbo.
It's possible some don't know that 'LINK' means to click on it. Still did not make sense as I put sofrito, grain, beans and pasta in what sets minestrone apart from a vegetable soup. I was just answering the question under the header 'Minestrone Soup'.
She deleted her posts so I deleted my response as it made no sense. I was clearly teasing Lars using a smiley. I do like the history and the origin of words. It just does not mean 'soup' here and now and for many years. At the end of the link I provided, he talks of the various regions and what they usually include to set it apart. I was surprised to see potato. I can't imagine a Gumbo with out a dark roux. Nor do I go out to the garden to pick gumbo.
"...pasta is more typically southern, rice more typically northern and bread is typically Tuscan. I usually cook the rice or pasta separately before adding it to the pot at the very last, letting it simmer a bit longer, but not too long, just before serving. If you are making it ahead, don’t add the rice or pasta (or bread) until you re-heat and serve, or it will become impossibly mushy."
I don't find the name exotic. How many canned soup companies are there?
I don't buy canned soups as it is so easy to make and no issue with those that do for convenience. Or a high end Italian chef making a riff with big and chunky. I would be surprised if he called it minestrone without including some or at least one of what is typically included.
This thread got me curious, so I spent an evening looking up minestrone recipes. They all seemed to include tomato, celery, carrots, onion, & garlic. Some added dried (or canned) beans, green beans, fennel, summer and/or winter squash. Some recipes even included broccoli. Sometimes rice, small pasta, or potato were used. Flavorings seemed to always include oregano, basil, and bay leaves. Parmesan was added to individual bowls, and a rind was often simmered along with the soup. Sometime pancetta was sautéed before the aromatics were added. And sometimes a dollop of pesto was added at serving.
The recipes were all pretty similar and sounded OK. I personally wouldn’t like the additions of beans, rice, pasta, potato, broccoli, or winter squash. Don’t ask me why. Just none of those sound appealing to me.
I came away from my “research” realizing there are so many variations that it would be impossible to try and lay down strict rules as to exactly what constitutes minestrone. Not worth the effort.
However, I have a question. Minestrone seems similar to Pasta a Fagioli. What’s the difference? They have almost identical ingredients. Is it texture? One is brothier than the other? Is it the lack of meat and/or cheese?
One is pasta and beans....the other is soup with pasta and beans....you figure it out!
The croatian pasta e fagioli (the lines blur a bit between Croatia and Italy) that I was introduced to always includes ham and is much thicker than a soup. I never put ham in minestrone ;0)
I miss restaurants. May I say that on a cooking forum? We have a local Italian restaurant that serves an amazing minestrone. Their runner up soup for delicious is their French Onion. In an Italian restaurant, who would have guessed.
morz8– sounds wonderful.
I made the lower fat Leek & Potato Soup. I modified the recipe a bit (don’t we all) and added about 2/3 Cup (6 - 7 Oz.) of Half & Half to it. Turned out well and will be better today from having the bit of freshly grated nutmeg and H&H meld with the other ingredients. Today, I will snip some fresh chives from the garden for a fragrant garnish.
Note to self — plant Leeks next season.