We’ve had a slight chill in the air this week. As you might be able to tell from my last post, I’m thinking about fall. I’ve really been trying to go through my collection of cookbooks, as I have collected such a wonderful assortment over the years. This one is no exception. It’s written by Henry Hill, the notorious mobster that the film “Goodfellas” is based off of. Now, let me just say what a great “food movie” Goodfellas is. The razor thin garlic? The cannoli incident? So many good scenes. But, I digress. You get me talking about any classic mafia movie, and I could go on for days!
There are so many great recipes in this book, I diddn’t even know where to begin. After much deliberation, I decided on this wonderful minestrone. It was delicious, and a relatively easy. It wasn’t super quick as far as cooking time goes – at 2 hours. But, for me, as a general rule of thumb – a good soup can’t come together quickly. Just the way it is folks!
I like to pre-cook my pasta first. I find that it doesn’t get quite as overcooked in the leftovers that way. I used elbow macaroni in this batch – but feel free to use whatever you like or have handy. This is really a “clean your fridge” out kind of meal. Lots of room for additions and substitutions. I kind of felt like maybe it would benefit for corn? Or some canelli beans perhaps? I was out of Parmesan cheese (I know! I know!), but I’d definitely top the soup with some before serving. Or, if you happen to have a rind laying around in the refrigerator or freezer, feel free to toss that into the mix as well. Just make sure you remove it before dishing it up!
Serve with a nice green salad and some crusty bread. Perfect for the cool fall evenings we have ahead of us!
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb bacon or pancetta, diced
1 large onion, peeled and coarsley chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 leek, white and green parts, sliced
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes and juice
2 10.5 oz cans beef broth
2 cups water
large handful green beans
1/2 pound cabbage, sliced and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 small zucchinis, diced
1 cup pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a large pot. Add bacon or pancetta and cook, stirring, over medium heat 5-8 minutes (do not brown). Add carrots, celery, and leek and cook 5 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft. Crush or quarter the tomatoes. Add tomatoes and juice, broth, and water to the pot and stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Snap off ends of green beans, break into approximately 2-inch pieces and add to pot. Add the cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, parsley, and dried herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, taste for seasonings and cook for 1 more. After the second hour, add the cooked pasta and stir. Remove bay leaf and Parmesan rind if using.
Source: adapted from The Wiseguy Cookbook by Henry Hill