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      RECIPE TITLE "MINESTRONE" Author: Best Recipe : Soups & Stews Copyright © 2001 by The Editors of Cook's Illustrated.

    yields serves 6 time--- difficulty easy

    The secret to this soup is adding the rind from a wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, the Parmesan of Parmesans. It brings complexity and depth to a soup made with water instead of stock. (Rinds from which all the cheese has been grated can be stored in a zipper-lock bag in the freezer to use as needed.) To experiment with different vegetables or beans, see the chart on page 134.


    2 small leeks (or 1 large), white and light green parts sliced thin crosswide (about 1/4 cup)
    2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped small (about 3/4 cup)
    2 small onions, peeled and chopped small (about 3/4 cup)
    2 medium stalks celery, trimmed and chopped small (about 3/4 cup)
    1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/4 cups)
    1 medium zucchini, trimmed and chopped medium (about 1-1/4 cups)
    3 cups stemmed spinach leaves, cut into thin strips
    1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained and chopped
    8 cups water
    1 Parmesan rind, about 5 by 2 inches
    1 (15-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    1/4 cup classic pesto or 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary mixed with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    Ground black pepper


    1. Bring the vegetables, tomatoes, water, cheese rind, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the cheese rind. (Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days. Reheat before proceeding with recipe.)

    2. Add the beans and cook just until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the pesto. Adjust the seasonings, adding pepper and more salt, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.

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    Best Recipe : Soups & Stews Best Recipe : Soups & Stews The Best Recipe: Soups and Stews is the result of testing more than 6,000 recipe variations for America's favorite soups and stews, from chicken noodle soup, clam chowder, and French Onion soup to bouillabaisse, chicken gumbo, and chili. They cover the basics, from which equipment works best to secrets for making quick, rich-tasting chicken stock. They share the secrets for turning out a great bowl of soup or stew, including where to simmer stews (use the oven, not the stovetop), how to puree vegetable soups (the blender, not the food processor, worked best), and what sets a decent beef stock apart from a great beef stock (it's the meat, not the bones). For beginners and advanced cooks, The Best Recipe: Soups and Stews is sure to become an indispensable kitchen companion. Includes: More than 200 recipes, perfected in the Cook's Illustrated Test Kitchen. More than 200 hand-drawn illustrations that demonstrate cooking techniques in step-by-step detail. An equipment buyer's guide. Surprising results of blind tastings of food ingredients. The science of cooking explained, they tell you why and how recipes work.


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