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Roger's Minestrone for Complete Idiots

Roger came from California and helped us get the restaurant moving shortly after Steve and I bought it. The recipe is named after The Volkswagen Book for Complete Idiots, one of the bibles at Cabbagetown since we all had Volkswagens. The idea of the Volkswagen book was that with good instructions and a good attitude everyone can fix cars. Roger's idea was that everyone can cook. THIS MAKES A BIG POT OF SOUP.


Serves 12

½ cup uncooked chick-peas or kidney beans (2 cups cooked)

6 cups water

2 bay leaves

¼ cup olive oil

2 onions, diced

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 green peppers, diced

½ teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon dried majoram or 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh majoram

1 teaspoon dried or finely chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, as much as you like

1 potato, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks broccoli, diced

1 wedge green cabbage, cut in bite-size chunks (4 cups)

2 quarts canned tomatoes

½ cup red wine

¼ cup finely chopped parsley


1. Measure the chick-peas or kidney beans, water, and bay leaves into a medium-size pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 2-3 hours, or until the beans are tender.


2. In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. Toss in the onions and garlic, and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add the peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the herbs, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking.


3. Add the other vegetables one at a time, letting each vegetable cook down as you chop the next one. If the vegetables start to stick, add a bit of juice from the tomatoes. You can add any other vegetables you like. Zucchini, green peas, corn, and chopped fresh spinach are especially good.


4. Crush the canned tomatoes with you hand or the back of a spoon to get small pieces. Add the tomatoes to the soup and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the wine and continue to simmer.


5. When the beans are tender, add them to the soup pot, along with the bean cooking water. Add the parsley. Dilute to good serving consistency with water, stock, or tomato juice. Continue to simmer for 30-60 minutes to blend the flavors.


6. Taste and reseason. Serve as is or sprinkle each bowl with grated Parmesan, Swiss, or Cheddar cheese.


Printed with permission of the author from Cabbagetown Café Cookbook by Julie Jordan, The Crossing Press, Trumansburg, NY 1986.








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