Minestrone, Soup for the Soul

This comfort food recipe is the one I used when I was cooking for Carolinahoeve Boutique Wine Estate & Italian Restaurant in South Africa and later for Cucina Carolina in Cape Town and Ristorante Cucina Carolina in Spain. A favorite under guests, family & friends.

Utensils 🍴apron, Le Creuset pan, cutting knife, plate, garlic press, table spoon (tbs), wooden spoon, potato slicer, sieve, can opener, cutting board

Ingredients for 8 people

8 tbs of olive oil, 50 g butter, 3 large onions, 4 cloves of garlic, 7 dried chillies 🌶, 6 carrots 🥕 3 stems of table celery, 3 large potatoes 🥔 8 small baby marrows, 350 g green beans, 250 g shredded white or red cabbage, 1.5 liter of any stock (I live in Spain and like to use Gallina Blanca), 40 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 2 cans of cannellini beans, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of tomato paste (40 grs), 1 can of peeled plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes 🍅 grounded salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, red wine 🍷


  1. Slice the onions thin and crush the garlic. Put the onion and garlic on a plate.
  2. Pulverize the dried chillies between your fingertips. Immediately after this, wash your fingertips with soap. It might cause irritation if you don’t and f.e. rub in your eyes later.
  3. Put the chillies on the plate with the onion/garlic mixture.
  4. Put oil and butter in the pan. Slowly heat it.
  5. Once hot, fry the onion/garlic/chillies until it is soft, but not brown.
  6. In the meantime clean the carrots with the potato slicer and slice them into small pieces.
  7. Fry the carrots in the pan. Stir a couple of times in the meantime.
  8. Do the same with the table celery.
  9. Clean the potatoes with the potato slicer and dice them. Add into the pan.
  10. Wash the baby marrows and slice them. Add into the pan.
  11. Remember to stir every time you add vegetables. If you think the bottom is going to be caught, turn the heat down.
  12. Clean your beans and slice them in 1 cm pieces. Add into the pan.
  13. Put the shredded cabbage in the pan and fry for another 3 minutes
  14. Add your stock
  15. Add tomato paste and the peeled plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  16. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that you do need quite a bit of salt with such a large quantity of soup.
  17. Add red wine, enough to cover all your vegetables.
  18. Put the lid on the pan and let the soup cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. The soup needs to be thick, so you will have to cook it till the soup is not too liquid anymore.
  19. Put the cannellini and kidney beans in the soup after 2 hours of cooking.
  20. Taste your soup and add if necessary more salt and pepper.
  21. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and serve or cool off to freeze.

When I lived in South Africa, the Rainbow nation I loved to use lots of rainbow pepper.

TIP: I never throw out my Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano crusts but freeze them. Remember next time if you have got a crust, to keep it. If you don’t have any crusts, use 40 g of grated Parmesan. I found out that the 40 g of the grated Parmesan are not necessary once you have kept the frozen crusts.  Remember to put the grated Parmesan in at the end (never before or it will catch the bottom of the pan).

TIP: If you have got Roma tomatoes left, chop them up and add them into the soup.

Delicious 🍷with any good Pinotage. When we lived in South Africa, we loved Diemersfontein Pinotage. The chocolate taste is a beautiful marriage with the minestrone.

Enjoy! Cincin!

MUSIC 🎶 Giorgia Fumanti, Eros Ramazotti, Riccardo Cocciante, Laura Pausini, Andrea Bocelli, Paolo Conte. All Italian!

Romance of this recipe: Lee promised to build a replica of the homestead at Diemersfontein where I got engaged to her. It was completed in 2006 on our wine estate in Wellington.

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