Minestrone Soup

“Jeet?” If not, why not make your­self a bowl of this de­li­cious soup.

My ho­met­own is not tat­tooed on my fore­head. I don’t carry a sign say­ing so, but in con­ver­sa­tions with out-of-town­ers, in­vari­ably, I’m asked, “Are you from Phil­adelphia?”

Whaddya” think? I have tried to prac­tice to cor­rect my Phil­adelphia nas­al, but it is what it is. That’s just the way I “tawk.” I’m a Philly girl. 

We Phil­adelphi­ans have our own re­gion­al dia­lect and loc­al lan­guage. Take the word “ma­hoff.” Not lis­ted in a dic­tion­ary, the in­ter­net’s “Word De­tect­ive” says, “This is evid­ently a ser­i­ously ob­scure term out­side of Phil­adelphia.” Who would have known? I used the word the oth­er day re­fer­ring to the big “ma­hoff” from New Jer­sey and wondered what big­ger “ma­hoff” must want Chris Christie off the 2016 bal­lot? Who is the biggest “ma­hoff?” The one who shuts down the bridge or the one who in­vest­ig­ates the one who shut down the bridge? I won­der?

Like the word “ma­hoff,” Camp­bell’s Soup Com­pany is syn­onym­ous with the Phil­adelphia re­gion. Camp­bell’s to­mato soup used to be a canned vari­ety that I loved, but a few years ago the taste seemed to change. With New Jer­sey to­mato grow­ers ex­per­i­ment­ing with the old, heir­loom vari­et­ies, like the Rut­gers, one of the true “Jer­sey” to­ma­toes (my Dad’s garden­ing choice), maybe the old “MmmMmm Good” fla­vor may soon re­turn. But you don’t have to wait to get some good soup, and you don’t have to go to “Ac-a-me,” either. In­stead, make some your­self. 

There’s no food quite as com­fort­ing, es­pe­cially on a cold, winter day, as a bowl of homemade soup. I guess that’s why Janu­ary was de­clared Na­tion­al Soup Month. Some soup re­cipes, es­pe­cially those us­ing bones, re­quire many hours to gently sim­mer. If you have the time, these re­cipes de­liv­er great taste and make an abund­ant amount. But you don’t have to do hours of kit­chen duty to get some good soup.  

If the an­swer to your ques­tion, “Jeet?” is “No, ju?”, then there’s noth­ing quite as sat­is­fy­ing as a bowl of soup “wit” a “san-wich” to quell your ap­pet­ite. A pot of homemade soup is not only eco­nom­ic­al, but is an easy clean-up, as it’s made in just one pot. Not only that, but leftovers can be frozen to en­joy later.

It’s good to have some soup on hand while you’re watch­ing the “Ig­gles” play (un­for­tu­nately, next year). Homemade soup has a lot go­ing for it, and you’re prob-lee get­ting the pix-ture, by now. I know “youse” will en­joy this soup. This re­cipe for Min­es­trone is “my-en.” This souperb re­cipe is souper!


Saute in 2 Tbls. can­ola oil:

   1 large onion, chopped

   1 small leek, chopped, white and part of green

   3 cloves gar­lic, chopped

   3 car­rots, chopped, about 1 cup

   3 stalks cel­ery, chopped, about 1 cup


   2 quarts chick­en broth (I use Swan­son lower so­di­um)

   1 cup wa­ter

  1/2 cup white wine

   1 can whole to­ma­toes, 28 oz., break up to­ma­toes


   1 tsp. mar­joram

   1 Tbls. basil 

   2 Tbls. pars­ley

   1 tsp. oregano

   1 bay leaf

   1 jalapeno pep­per, seeded and split in half

   1 small green pep­per, seeded, chopped, ½ cup  

   2 cups cab­bage, shred­ded coarsely


   1/4 cup small soup pasta, un­cooked (like tubet­tini, tubetti or dit­ali or dita­lini)

   2 small zuc­chini, coarsely chopped, 1½ cups

   1 can can­nel­lini beans, 15 oz.

   4 or 5 fresh mush­rooms, chopped, about ¼ lb.

   Salt and Pep­per 

- In a large soup pot, saut&ea­cute; in can­ola oil the onion, leek, gar­lic, car­rots and cel­ery, stir­ring of­ten, un­til the onion is trans­lu­cent and the ve­get­ables are tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.

- Add the chick­en broth, wa­ter, wine and the to­ma­toes, and bring to a boil.  

- Re­duce heat.

- Add mar­joram, basil, pars­ley, oregano, bay leaf, jalepeno pep­per, green    ep­per, and cab­bage.

- Cov­er and cook gently for 20 minutes.

- Add the pasta, zuc­chini, beans and mush­rooms, and gently cook    about 10 minutes more un­til the pasta is tender.

- Ad­just salt and pep­per to taste.

- Serve sprinkled with Parmes­an cheese on the side.

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053.)

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