Zuppa Minestrone by Chef Roberto Cimmino

I have always wanted to learn how to cook authentic Zuppa Minestrone and I finally got down to learning an authentic recipe from Chef Roberto Cimmino a few weeks back at the Maya Kitchen. Ever since I dined at Dinelli last year, I have tried in vain several recipes of Minestrone but could not seem to set my foot on a perfect one, until Chef Rob’s workshop.

Amongst all the cooking and baking workshops I have attended at The Maya Kitchen, this particular workshop with Chef Roberto Cimmino of Edsa Shangri-la Hotel is one of my favorites. He was a natural and I have learned quite a bit of tips that he shared and a handful of anecdotes from his homeland, Italy. One of which is it is way better to make your own mayonnaise right at home than buy from the supermarket. While it might not be so easy for a beginner, his summon to just get down to it and make one made it sound so doable.  I love it! And I just might get that done very soon!

Meanwhile, here is Chef Roberto Cimmino’s Minestrone recipe.

Zuppa Minestrone, Italian Vegetable Stew with Prosciutto and Parmesan
(serves 4)

1 zucchini, diced
1 wedge of squash, diced
2 very ripe native tomato, diced
1 broccoli, shredded
1 cauliflower, shredded
Handful of spinach, chopped
Handful of Dry bean “cannellini” or Borlotti, soaked in water for 1 day
Parma ham and parmesan chunk
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 small can Italian canned peeled tomato, crushed
Handful of garlic, finely chopped
Handful of onion, julienned
A stalk of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of leek, julienned
Half cabbage, chopped
Quarter of Ube/Taro, diced
Handful of fresh basil
Bread from yesterday
1 or 2 potato, diced
Some toasted hazelnut
Handful of shallots, chopped
Some macaroni (optional)

Method
In a pot add the oil and slowly sweat the onion, the garlic, the leek and the shallots, after that add the vegetable from the hardest one to the softest one, and sauté for few minutes. Keep the spinach aside.

Once all the vegetable are sautéed, add the canned tomato and cook for few minutes, add half of the basil, season to taste and add some water, let simmer for no more than 20 minutes or all the nutrients in the veggies will be burned.

Add the chopped spinach at the end so they look fresh and crunchy. If needed, the macaroni can be cooked for about 8 minutes in the minestrone. Toss some basil at the end and serve in bowl, sprinkle with crushed hazelnut, diced toasted bread crouton and a generous sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil

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