Minestrone is a soup with ancient pre Roman origins. The word comes from minestrare 'to serve'. Many countries with ancient trading history have fine cuisines
because of exposure to more diverse food and this can certainly be said of Italy. But before the Roman Empire which brought a great diversity of foodstuffs and spices coming from distant regions to Italy, the range of foods available in Europe was much more limited. The word frugal is derived from the Latin fruges which could
roughly be translated as 'fruits' but used in the old sense of 'fruits of the earth' and related to the kind of diet they had then, mainly cereals, pulses and vegetables.
Minestrone recipes are flexible, using vegetables in season, therefore traditionally, in its ancient form it would use those vegetables native to pre Roman Europe. The ingredients can include carrots, peas, beans, lentils, cabbage, asparagus, turnips, onion, garlic or mushrooms. The soup is usually vegetable based but can contain meat or meat broth. Originally it was thickened with spelt flour porridge, today you are more likely to find it cooked with a
little pasta. Sometimes a dash of animal fat could be thrown in. When potatoes and tomatoes arrived from the Americas they were added to the mix. Minestrone is today valued in Italy for its rustic quality. Such unpretentious dishes can be the most delicious as they have been proven by time.
The tender cooked dried beans make this a truly hearty minestrone. The peppers and vegetables added green flavours. A tiny dash of exquisite Caroline Reaper chilli powder filled with aromatic warmth. It really stands out as a good healthy soup with perfect balance.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: at least 150 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: at least 2 H 45 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard
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