Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
This is a classic Appalachian dish, brought to this country as Italian immigrants flocked to the mountainous regions of Appalachia in the late 1800s to mine coal -- they brought their excellent recipes with them. Over time, local ingredients crept into such recipes, making them a part of the Appalachian culture and tradition. I have updated the ingredients to facilitate convenience. Like most Appalachian recipes, this one conveys two primary characteristics: major flavor and, it "sticks to your ribs". That is a complaint we often hear in regard to vegetable-based soups, "An hour later and I'm hungry again." Not so with this one. The critical ingredients of this recipe include the Italian sausage, the carrots (which provide a natural sweetness) and the Italian dressing dry mix. The vegetables could certainly be substituted to include zucchini, turnips, and perhaps even some chopped Rocket lettuce. If you're not crazy about tomato-based soups, simply use more chicken or beef stock and less tomato/vegetable juice. Enjoy!
- 20 ounces Italian sausages, de-cased and crumbled
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces
- 4 cups cabbage, chopped
- 30 ounces stewed tomatoes, canned, chopped with juice
- 15 ounces beef broth, canned
- 12 ounces v 8 vegetable juice
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup broccoli floret, fresh, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 whole fresh basil leaves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian salad dressing mix, dry packet-type, I use Good Seasons brand
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed, I use the soft Maggi ones
- 1⁄3 cup fresh onion, diced
- 1 large bell pepper, any kind, de-seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, I use Frank's RedHot
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 cup frozen baby lima bean
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 4 1⁄2 quarts water, divided
- 1 teaspoon table salt, for cooking pasta
- 8 ounces pasta shells (small, dry)
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, sauté the bell pepper, onion, and Italian sausage in 3 teaspoons of the olive oil until the sausage has browned, (about 12 minutes). While it is cooking, break up the sausage as much as you can. Drain and discard grease.
- In a large cooking pot, pour in the sausage blend, celery, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes with juice, beef stock, V-8, broccoli, garlic, basil leaves, Italian dressing mix, bouillon cubes, oregano, hot sauce, soy sauce, and six cups of the water, but do not add the lima beans or peas yet. These go in later. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to effect a slow boil and cover, stirring occasionally.
- In a second cooking pot, pour in the reserved 3 quarts of water, the remaining teaspoon-full of olive oil and the teaspoon of salt. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat, covered. When it boils, slowly add the pasta and reduce the heat to effect a mild boil, uncovered. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until it is just tender (al dente), then, before draining, remove one cup of the pasta water and add it to the soup.
- Shock the drained pasta in cold water (this will keep it from turning mushy later), re-drain and set it aside.
- After the soup has cooked for one hour, add the lima beans and peas. After 25 minutes more, add the drained pasta to the soup and allow it to cook, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot.
- TIP: As the soup sits, it will absorb more liquid. Simply thin it with canned chicken broth and re-heat it if you want it thinner.
I cut the recipe in half and followed the instructions except for using homemade broth (leaving out the bouillon) and zucchini for broccoli. Made for a tasty lunch...served with bread down at the beach. Thank you! Made for Zaar Chef Alphabet Soup tag game.
Bone Man, your minestrone recipe is the best! I ask for forgiveness for not reviewing your recipe sooner as I have made this several times. I also shared with my DD and her family loves it as well. She made a pot for her neighbor, as the neighbor had just come home with a new baby and the neighbor's family also loves it, and who knows how far this recipe has spread as the neighbor is a military family. I usually sub zucchini for the broccoli and all else as you wrote. Excellent recipe. You have made many families' tummies very happy.
This was perfect for the cold snap we've had here in Texas! I omited the broccoli and subbed sliced zuchinni and used two 14.5 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes, but otherwise followed your recipe. DH has been enjoying the leftovers for lunch and there's a batch in the freezer.Thanks for posting this, Pat- it's great!