To my family, this is minestrone and there is no other. Potato and sausage minestrone soup with a healthy dollop of pesto sauce and some vegetables to round things out, that’s what I make every time! This is one of those meals that’s so good and so simple that you wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
Occasionally, over the years, I’ve tried to make other versions of minestrone but it’s never quite right. I’m happy to make other soups, but if I’m calling it minestrone, it needs sausage and it needs potatoes and it needs beans and pesto. It is interesting how a particular name can become so closely associated with a very specific recipe even though minestrone as a concept encompasses so many different variations. And, honestly, if I make soup and call it minestrone and don’t make this soup, my family looks at me in dismay as though I’ve betrayed them. It’s not worth it. 🙂 Some recipes I can tinker with and change to my heart’s content, but others have reached the recipe hall of fame and all that left to do is cook.
Now, I will admit that a little variation is considered acceptable to the family. Some chopped spinach, a few carrots, some parsnips, or maybe some diced tomatoes are all very nice and I add them from time to time, depending what I have in the house. However, you can’t go wrong with my basic recipe. Don’t skimp on the pesto, cook one can of beans with the veggies so it thickens the broth, and get some nice bread to dip into the liquid. Yum! That is what’s for dinner around here.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- ½ lb sweet Italian sausage, 3 links
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow squash, 1 inch dice
- 1 lb yellow potatoes (3 medium), peeled, 1 inch dice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 15-oz cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ lb green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup pesto sauce
- In a medium saucepan, cover sausage links with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and keep at a simmer until the sausage is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain and let the sausage cool enough to handle. Chop the sausage into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and salt and saute for 8-10 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic and yellow squash. Saute for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, and 1 can of drained, rinsed butter beans. Simmer soup for 20 minutes.
- Add chopped sausage, green beans, the second can of butter beans, and ½ cup pesto sauce. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes.
- Serve soup with a dollop of pesto in the bowl.