Minestrone (Organic Vegetable Soup)
I personally never used a pressure cooker until the day I met Deb!
My mom used it quite often, but the pot she had always seemed to me very scary and unapproachable; you had to close it with a knob placed on top of the lid, and the valve was to it what a security pin is to a hand grenade. It used to scream whistles, twirl around and shake very fast…no pattern, absolutely random. All of us always expected to see those few ounces of metal pop out of the lid and fly to the moon, right trough the roof of the house.
I was allowed to use any kind of knife, but not that technological embarrassment that our cooker was. So, I never dared, until a few years ago, when Deb taught me how to cook her favorite pee soup, using a definitely better pot.Just a few quick notes:
- Every pressure cooker is different. Different brands usually have slightly different gauges, valves and locking systems; please refer to the “user’s manual”, before you get baptized…literally!
- If you would rather use a regular deep pot just consider that the cooking time will be longer, more than double…
- Be careful not to overcook! Pressure cookers are great because they save a lot of time, but it is also very easy to transform your chopped healthy goods into a sludge…still a healthy sludge I guess…
- About Potatoes. They add a nice “starchy” feel to the soup, and also really help achieving volume but, when frozen and defrosted, their texture becomes grainy (carbs always have a way to mess around with you). So, if you intend to freeze your soup (like we always do), do not use them…if you do, you can still blend the soup after it is defrosted with a mixer… still good.
The ingredients below take into consideration the fact you will be cooking double servings for 4 people, and freeze half of your soup.
Let’s get cookin’!
Wash all your vegetables thoroughly.
Chop the Onion, the Carrots and the Celery medium fine. Chop the Parsley very fine.
Cut the stems off the Broccoli, cut the ends off the String Beans, slice the Tomatoes, the Zucchini and the Potatoes (do not peel them).
Rinse well the Cannellini Beans.
In about 5 Tbsp of Olive Oil sauté the Onion, the Carrot and the Celery for about 10 minutes over a medium high flame. Add every 3-5 minutes in the order: Hot Pepper, Garlic and Tomatoes.
When the Tomatoes have become “part of the Soffritto” (you can toss the peels off if you’d like), add the six cups of water. Season with Salt and Pepper, and add the Crust of the Parmesan.
One after the other add all the remaining ingredients except the Cannellini Beans, stirring well, and making sure that more or less it all get properly mixed and covered with water (if not covered at least nicely wet).
Close the pressure cooker, turn the flame up to a high, and wait until you pan “tells you” that the proper pressure has been reached (usually a valve pops out, or a whistle starts blowing), lower the flame to a simmer and let cook for a little less that 15 minutes.
Release the pressure from the cooker, and open the lid; stir well, remove the Parmesan Crust and toss it, add the Cannellini Beans and let the Soup rest for about 15 minutes.
Serve dressed with some freshly grated Parmesan, some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a sprinkle of Salt and Pepper.
Debi and Gabriele