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from "Good & Garlicky, Thick & Hearty, Soul-Satisfying, More-Than-Minestrone Italian Soup Cookbook" by Joe Famularo

The Po Valley in southern Lombardy produces top-quality rice, a staple throughout the region. There, minestrone is made in every restaurant and home, and this particular version, which includes rice, is famous even outside of the region. To emphasize the hearty flavor, it is often served at room temperature, and I suggest you try it that way, too. Accompany the minestrone with fresh garlic bread.

Serves 6 to 8
 Good & Garlicky, Thick & Hearty, Soul-Satisfying, More-Than-Minestrone Italian Soup Cookbook

1/2 cup dried red kidney beans or 1 1/2 cups rinsed and drained canned red kidney beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 slices bacon, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh, tomatoes, or 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
10 cups water
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium ribs celery with leaves, thinly sliced
2 cups thinly shredded savoy cabbage
2 small zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup rice, preferably Arborio
3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

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1. If using dried beans, pick over, discarding any stones. Soak the beans overnight in cool water to cover by 2 inches. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and onion and sauté until the bacon is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic turns light brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the soaked dried beans, if using, with the tomatoes, parsley, basil, and water. If you are using canned beans, add them to the soup in step 4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very slow but steady simmer. Cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, uncovering to stir every 20 or 30 minutes.
4. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage, and the canned beans, if using, and cook, covered, 30 minutes more.
5. Add the zucchini, cauliflower, rice, and fresh peas and cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, 20 minutes. If you are using frozen peas, do not add them until the last 5 minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to mellow, about 15 minutes. Stir in half of the grated cheese, then ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve, passing the remaining cheese.

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Goya Red Kidney Beans - $0.89/ea
  Oscar Mayer Bacon - $6.99/ea
  White Onion, Large - $1.49/lb
  Del Monte Fresh Cut Diced Tomatoes - $1.29/ea
  Italian Parsley - $1.49/ea
 approx. 4oz
  Russet Potato, Medium - $0.89/lb
  Cal-Organic Organic Carrots - $0.99/ea
 approx. 1lb
  Ocean Mist Farms Celery - $1.99/ea
 approx. 1lb
  Savoy Cabbage - $1.79/lb
  Green Zucchini - $1.99/lb

FreshDirect White Cauliflower Florets - $6.99/ea
 approx. 1lb
  Birds Eye Fresh Frozen Green Peas - $1.29/ea
Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP, Aged 2 Years - $17.99/lb
  Lundberg Arborio White Rice - $7.39/ea
You May Already Have
  O-Live & Co. Extra-Virgin Premium Olive Oil - $13.99/ea
 25fl oz
  Garlic - $2.95/lb
  Spice Supreme Basil Leaves - $0.99/ea
  Morton Regular Salt - $0.99/ea
  FreshDirect Tellicherry Pepper, Ground
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