It was long before having kids of my own that I was introduced to the idea and perfection that is minestrone soup for babies and kids. We were in Italy visiting family and friends and the twin girls of about age one were getting hungry. Their mother hurriedly reheated soup she had made earlier that day. It was the babies’ regular go-to meal, a home prepared and then blended minestrone soup. In an age where most baby food comes out of a jar it seemed insane to make this soup (which contains a lot of ingredients) and then warm and serve it daily to these little girls. Now that I have my own kids I see the brilliance of it. It is a delicious soup that once put together can be frozen and served for weeks to come and it contains so many good things growing kids need and love!
While I rarely make the soup myself, my own mom (known as Nonna to my kids, and the explorer behind La Cucina La Fratta) makes it for the kids every time she comes into town. We then freeze it into 2-4 serving Ziploc bags, and we are set until her next visit.
While the soup does contain a lot of ingredients which can be timely to buy and prep, it is precisely that which makes it so perfect for growing kids. Filled with veggies, protein and pasta it is not just delicious but healthy. It is so good that hubby and I can often be found stealing bowls for ourselves (My husband actually prefers it pureed, which I typically do just for the kids!). With fall well on the way it is the perfect time to stay in on a rainy afternoon and make this fabulous soup. So from our kitchen to yours here is how to make “Nonna’s Minestrone soup”. Enjoy!!
Nonna’s Minestrone Soup Recipe:
50 gr.(3 TBS) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
15 gr. (3/4 cup) parsley, finely chopped
2 sage leaves
100 gr.(3 slices of bacon) or pancetta, chopped
2 celery stalks, halved and sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 TBS of tomato paste
400 gr. (14oz) can of chopped tomatoes
8 basil leaves
3 liters(12 cups) chicken stock
1 zucchini (courgette) sliced
400 gr.(14oz) can of green beans
1 cup chopped cabbage ( red or green)
15 gr.(3/4 cup) orzo (small pasta)
optional: green peas, kale, spinach
Melt butter in large sauce pan. Add onion, garlic, parsley, sage and bacon. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until onion is soft and golden.
Add celery and carrot. Cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, and basil. Season with plenty of pepper. Add stock and bring slowly to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add zucchini, green beans, cabbage and orzo ( any small pasta will do). Simmer until pasta is al dente. At this point you can add other veggies if desired.
If your soup is too thick you can add 1 cup of water as the pasta sometimes absorbs most of the liquid.
*If you are making for your babies purée to desired consistency.
It will warm your tummy and your heart!!! Boun Appetito!