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It's cold in Florence, today we have a bright sky and the light flooded my kitchen... but it's still cold, I'm working at the desk, wearing more clothes of what I usually do.

In days like these, it not easy to remind the importance of eating healthy and light, we needs rich and comforting dishes that often means... fat.

I have the solution: soup, vegetable soup.

The minestrone is a vegetable soup, a classic of the italian poor traditions, with several regional variation. For me, the minestrone, is the most rapresentative dish of the Mediterranean diet.

I need to say the mostly of the people use ready frozen versions, so this dish my seems boring and ordinary.

I know that this soup take some time to clean and chop the vegetables, but, believe me, in a winter day a hot bowl of homemade minestrone soup is rich, comforting and tasty.

In Italy we have a way of saying "make a minestrone" that means put different things, words... without a sense, making confusion.

Honestly the good thing of the minestrone is just this: you can change kind and amount of vegetables following your personal taste and (please!) the season.

For the reason the recipe that you find belove is absolutely flexible, but to make a perfect mininestrone you need to follow just one rule: start with a good soffritto (celery+onion+carot) the add all the vegetables respecting the cooking time. It's also important to chop the ingredients at the same size.

Ingredients:

1 big red onion (chopped) - 1 celery stalk (chopped) - 2 carrots (chopped) - 1 small leek finely sliced - 2 medium potatoes (diced) - 250 gr. pumkin (diced) - 2 small zucchini (diced)- 200 gr. boiled beans - 2 tablespoon tomato puree - 100 gr. frozen peas - a good bunch of sliced kale or spinach - a small head of broccoli, cutted in branches - extravirgin olive oil - salt and pepper - grated Parmesan cheese to serve.

In a big heavy pot heat the olive oil, add celery, carrot and onion and let it cook until soft and tender (not brown). Add potatoes, pumkin, beans, leeks, tomatoes puree. Season with salt and pepper, cover with water, put the lid, bring to the boil then turn the flame to the low and cook for 15 minutes. Then add the broccoli.

When the vegetables are softs add in the leafy vegetables and the zucchini, cook for 5 minutes more. Serve with extravirgin olive oil and parmesan cheese. Serve 6/8 people

 

Kitchen tips:

- As I say before the minestrone need some time, I usually prepare a good amount that I can store in my fridge for the week.

- If you buy good piece of Parmesan cheese, and I hope so, don't waste the rind! Store it in the fridge well wrapped (up three months). When you prepare your minestrone cut a piece of ring in small squares using a big knife, add it to the soffritto. Eating your minestrone you will find some soft piece of cheese and you soup will have a rich and complete flavour.

- If you are not vegetarian add 50 gr. of chopped pancetta or bacon to the soffritto.

- In Italy we use to complete the soup with "pastina" or rice that you can cook separately and add to the minestrone just before serving.