Hearty Minestrone

From America's Test Kitchen Season 11: Easier Italian Favorites

Why this recipe works:

In creating our minestrone recipe, we tried to squeeze every last ounce of flavor out of a manageable list of supermarket vegetables. Sautéing pancetta and then cooking the veggies in the rendered fat gave our soup layers of flavor. Starch from simmering beans thickened the soup. The last… read more

In creating our minestrone recipe, we tried to squeeze every last ounce of flavor out of a manageable list of supermarket vegetables. Sautéing pancetta and then cooking the veggies in the rendered fat gave our soup layers of flavor. Starch from simmering beans thickened the soup. The last component we considered for our perfect minestrone recipe was the liquid, settling on just the right combination of chicken broth, water, and V8 juice.

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Serves 6 to 8

If you are pressed for time you can “quick-brine” your beans. In step 1, combine the salt, water, and beans in a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans and proceed with the recipe. We prefer cannellini beans, but navy or great Northern beans can be used. We prefer pancetta, but bacon can be used. To make this soup vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and 2 teaspoons of olive oil for the pancetta. Parmesan rind is added for flavor, but can be replaced with a 2-inch chunk of the cheese. In order for the starch from the beans to thicken the soup, it is important to maintain a vigorous simmer in step 3. The soup can be cooled, covered tightly, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently and add basil just before serving.

Ingredients

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