La Cucina Italiana’s winter minestrone

So, remember when I raved about the revamped La Cucina Italiana magazine? I wrote that the magazine’s new look made me excited to cook and that I intended to prepare a recipe from the magazine (at least) once a month and write about it here on my blog. Well, here’s the first one: Winter minestrone soup with straccetti saraceni.

So, two days after I got back to Milan from New York, a vicious cold and fever snuck up on me.  Surviving the bitterly cold polar vortex and bombogenesis in New York City gave me great pride, so getting sick was such a  bummer. Perhaps I caught something on the plane?  Thankfully, I had some bone-broth-filled Tupperware in the freezer that I thawed and subsisted on for past week-and-a-half. While I love me some bone broth, I had a craving for soup with more substance.  I was slowly but surely recovering, yes, but Milan was still cold. So, when I came across the cozy winter minestrone soup recipe in the January issue, I just knew I had to make it.

Winter minestrone soup recipe Jerusalem artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes

So, the recipe called for 1 liter of vegetable broth, which I needed to stock up on anyway, 200 grams Jerusalem artichokes (diced), 150 Savoy cabbage, 100 grams catalogna (not exactly sure what they are called in English!), 70 grams of spinach and 80 grams of red lentils.  Following the recipe, I boiled the broth with all the vegetables and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Then I added the lentils and let it cook for another ten minutes. And of course, I added salt and pepper to taste throughout.

Winter minestrone soup recipe straccetti dough
My nifty slotted spoon for straccetti making

The straccetti saraceni, or straccetti made from buckwheat flour (grano di saraceno) were super tricky. Fun aside: Buckwheat is a popular ingredient in Lombard cuisine and is often used for pizzoccheri pasta.  The straccetti were to be made like spaetzle, which I had never made before and I intend to acquire a spaetzle maker  ASAP.  I managed to make due this time with a slotted spoon. For the straccetti, the recipe called for 150 grams of buckwheat flour, 150 grams of water and an egg.

I mixed everything until it formed a paste, then scooped the mixture with the slotted spoon and let the pieces fall into the boiling water. Once the straccetti were done, I set them aside for the soup. Then, I sauteed the straccetti with olive oil and chives to add them to the servings of soup. Some of the final pieces are shaped a bit more like rocks then strips, but it’s okay. It all goes down the same way anyway!

As of right now, the winter minestrone soup recipe isn’t online. But if/when it is, I’ll update this post with the link.

I know I’ll be revisiting this perfectly cozy repast every winter. Viva La Cucina Italiana!



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