About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Arrosticini Abruzzesi-Skewered Marinated Lamb Tidbits | Main | Summer Vegetable Soup with Rice and Basil, Milan Style »

Minestrone alla Romagnola-Vegetable Soup, Romagna Style

Michele is on a brief sabbatical, so the rest of us are picking up the next three weeks for her. Fortunately for me (Deborah), I get to make Minestrone.
Is there any smell more comforting and inviting than a pot of homemade vegetable soup gently bubbling on the stove?


Many of us make our vegetable soups almost without thought. Our hands know what to do, and our minds are free to wonder as we cook.
In being forced to read the recipe, follow it exactly, and concentrate on what I was doing, I experienced a minor revelation.


I realized that, as an experienced home cook, I put my ingredients into the pot in a specific order, even when I’m not thinking about it. That order is based on how long it takes the ingredient to begin softening.
I thought, “How many people just learning to cook, don’t realize this?”
“How many less exacting recipes don’t bother to detail the order of the ingredients and the amount of time one should wait between ingredients?”
And, again I am reminded of the simple beauty in Marcella’s teaching.


I have one significant disagreement with her, however.

She offers as optional what I consider to be an indispensable ingredient…the crust of a piece of parmigiano-reggiano.

The smell I spoke of at the beginning of this post? It owes its luxuriousness to the presence of the cheese crust. Please, don’t try to save time and money by leaving it out.

Comments (5)

Emily Hamblen:

That looks delicious. And I've never heard of putting a cheese crust in the soup like that...I will definitely try that sometime. Fascinating!

That looks fantastic Deborah! I am in total agreement about the rind of Parmigiano, we always save ours just for this purpose. Sometimes we put the rind in Pasta e Fagioli.

Mindy Smith:

I could go for a bowl of that right now! I learned about using the P-R rind when I was in Bologna last May, also when I went to Whole Foods for the "Cracking of the Wheels", they also passed out recipes which highly recommended using the rind. (bet they read Marcella's book)!

Great job Deborah!!

Rah! Rah!

Indispensable...perfect word....parmigiano rinds are best since they hold their shape. i even do provolone or pecorino, and then enjoy eating the soft treat in the soup as well....

The first soup of the series sounds great!

I would be happy to temporarily fill in if you need someone in the future.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 21, 2010 6:04 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Arrosticini Abruzzesi-Skewered Marinated Lamb Tidbits.

The next post in this blog is Summer Vegetable Soup with Rice and Basil, Milan Style.

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