Scalzi’s Overloaded Minestrone


Every now and again I get it in my head to make dinner — not just phone in a pizza order or heat up some ravioli, but actually make something. In those cases I tend to make either chili or minestrone. I’ve already posted my Random Chili Recipe, so here is the recipe for Scalzi’s Overloaded Minestrone. The basic idea is to take minestrone soup and pile on until its consistency is actually somewhat closer to a stew than a soup. This may or may not be heresy if you love minestrone. But, I’ll tell you what, it’s good.

Scalzi’s Overloaded Minestrone

4-5 thick bacon slices, chopped (optional for the vegetarian-oriented)
3 large celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
3 large leaves of chard, chopped
28-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 cans pinto beans
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 spring rosemary
1 cup orzo pasta
8 – 9 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)

Get a big pot. In that pot drizzle in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump the bacon in and fry the bacon until it is cooked but not crisp. Then add celery, carrots, onion, cabbage, chard, garlic, basil and parsley and cook until the green begin to wilt. Drain your tomatoes and then break them up into the pot; cook for about 3 – 5 minutes. Drain the beans and squish them with your hands before adding them to the pot; cook another 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken/vegetable stock and bring to a boil; then put to simmer. Add the rosemary spring and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Then remove the rosemary spring and then add the cup of orzo. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how al dente you like your orzo; stir occasionally. Serve. Makes 8 – 10 cups.

Like I said, this will give you an unusually thick minestrone. See if you like it.

18 Comments on “Scalzi’s Overloaded Minestrone”

  1. Looks tasty. But do you put bacon in all your recipes? Lasagna? Clam chowder? Pie?

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  2. Hey John, sounds good there bud. If you like that, you should love this:

    More Beef Than Stew

    Just a sample of the ingredients:

    3lbs of cubed steak, or stew beef (not too fatty, 1″ cubes or less).
    3lbs of potatos (I prefer yukon gold)
    2 large peeled carrots (optional)
    1 large whole onion (optional)
    1 turnip (optional)
    1 radish (optional)
    2 stalks celery (optional)
    1 can of drained corn (or two ears dekerneled)
    1 large clove of garlic
    1/2lb butter
    1 cup red wine
    1 cup whole milk

    The full recipe and directions are in the linked page. I’ve got a Chicken Bacon Carbonara recipe up as well, and Im going to put my calabrese recipe up soon.

  3. As it happens, Dave, bacon is frequently used in minestrone. Some people even put in sausage, although I think that’s missing the point. So yes, while I like bacon, no, it’s not an idea original to me.

  4. You do Random recipes, too, huh? I specialize in Random Chicken Concoction. In winter, it’s more or less a stir-fry, in summer it’s a marinade for grilling. It consists of olive oil, vinegar, and stuff I find in our spice cabinet.


  5. Hey John, I haven’t heard you say much about being of italian descent. I don’t reacll, is your mom italian too?

    I know how much you love your mom, but what was her cooking like?

    I can tell you my mothers was uniformly awful.
    From what I’ve read, both our moms were relatively poor single mothers raising relatively difficult kids and working, so they had higher priorities than cooking.

    Funny enough, it seems that most of the men I know who cook well, and enjoy it (but arent professionals), came from households with working mothers who were bad cooks.

  6. My mother’s cooking was fine, actually — not brilliant but not bad. I don’t want to give the impression that I actually cook well outside of a few particular dishes, however.

  7. Yummy, but no garlic? Bacon is just fine in minestrone, as traditional recipes frequently use proscuitto in the same manner. Bacon’s a decent (and cheaper!) substitute. You might also try adding sliced black olives and/or 1/4 cup half and half or cream for a Bolognese twist if you’re into them and look for cannelli (white kidney) beans instead of pinto. For fans of Italian cooking, I highly recommend _The Splendid Table_ by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

  8. Spring of rosemary?

    As in, a whole season’s harvest worth? No wonder it’s not very soupy… it’s a huge pile of rosemary with some soup at the bottom!

    (Okay, I’m being peculiar… but I did think it would be odd to consider a “spring of [vegetable]” as the whole season’s produce. That, and I can’t find any evidence that spring is a synonym for sprig… not that I looked very hard.)

  9. Speaking of chili, if your chili has reached near culmination but still has a “flavor hole” (or you just want to try something different for a change) try dumping a few shots of tequila into the pot. SImmer enough to cook off the alcohol if you’ve got youngsters, sensitive types or Mormons in the house. The taste of the booze is quite a nice compliment to the southwestern spices and textures.

  10. I just tried it out. (This was after you edited in the garlic. Garlic-smooshing is fun.) My tummy thanks you for the lovely meal. There’s about a gallon of leftover soup sitting in the fridge waiting to be eaten over the course of the next week.

    Maybe next week I’ll try the chili.

  11. MMMMMMMMmmmmm John that looks tasty! I never knew that you could actually cook. I don’t remember you doing it when we lived in Fresno… it was all about the microwave back then(((WINK))). I’m going home to try this on the kids. Wish me luck.

  12. Just found you on a google search. My son called frantically from Germany (USAF) and wanted my Mom’s minestrone recipe, which I’ve never quite been able to duplicate; cute–he was appalled at his new bride serving him ‘minestrone’ that came out of a can! So I’m still trying to put an actual ‘recipe’ together for him. I DO recall that my grandmother would put the basic ingredients into a blender to squish the beans, etc. and then added cabbage, prosciutto and chard, I believe. And some pasta (small shells, I believe)toward the end. LOTS of freshly grated Parmesan at the table. Will try yours this weekend and see if between it and what I recall about my ‘Noni’s’ it comes out as something I can give my son. Thanks again!

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