Memories of Farmhouse Minestrone Soup Recipe

By : | 6 Comments | On : September 14, 2013 | Category : Recipe Ditties, Recipes

I have so many fond memories of the minestrone soup from the long gone Farmhouse Restaurant in Redwood City California. I found one recipe on the web that claimed it was the Farmhouse recipe, but it was missing a little something, so I altered it to match my memory. I came pretty close to my memory of that standout minestrone soup recipe. This soup really gets it’s complexity by the way the ingredients are layered together.

The original recipe can be found at the San Jose Mercury News website.

Memories of Farmhouse Minestrone Soup Recipe

This soup takes 2 days to make if using dried beans.  I found that it did taste better with the dried beans, but if you are like me and forget to soak the beans, you can substitute with 3 cans of white beans. Soup can be made up to 3 days in advance.


  • 1/2 pound dried white beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 3/4 pound chopped skirt steak*
  • 3/4 cups red table wine*
  • 1/4 cup Better Than Boiullon beef base*
  • 8 cups water*
  • 1/2 pound pancetta or sliced lean bacon, chopped
  • 3 Tbl olive oil
  • 3 cups onion, diced
  • 3/4 cups carrot, diced in 1/2-inch dice
  • 3/4 cups celery, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 Tbl minced garlic
  • 2 cups zucchini, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups potatoes, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 4 cups kale leaves, chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 28-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 pound of small pasta ( I used 3/4 cups Ditalini by Barilla )
  • grated Parmesan (optional)
  • soft italian bread (optional)

* You can use 7 cups beef broth and omit the meat, keep the wine and add at the same time as the broth.


Day 1: -1 day

  • In large bowl, soak beans overnight with enough water to cover by 2 inches.

Day 2: -2 hours

  • Add salt and pepper to beef and set aside.
  • Drain beans. In a saucepan, combine beans with enough water to cover by 2 inches; simmer uncovered until tender.  Continue to step 2 while the beans cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding water to keep beans barely covered. Keep covered and remove from heat when beans are done.
  • While beans are cooking, prepare the broth: In a large pot, add 1 Tbl olive oil and heat on medium high. Add beef and cook about 3-4 minutes to brown the beef.  Add the wine and better than bouillon base and cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes while you chop vegetables. Keep covered and remove from heat while you work on preparing the soup.

Day 2: -1 hour

  • In heavy soup pot, cook pancetta in 2 Tbl oil, stirring, until crisp and pale golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Add onion; cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add carrots, celery and garlic; cook, stirring for about 4 minutes.
  • Add potatoes and zuchini; cook stirring for about 4 minutes.
  • Add kale, cabbage and baby spinach; cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and the beef and broth made in the above step. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes

Day 2: -15 minutes

  • Add pasta to soup, stir, cover and continue to next step.
  • Drain beans, but reserve 1 cup of liquid.
  • Puree half the beans with 1 cup reserved liquid.
  • Stir puree and remaining beans into soup; simmer uncovered 10 minutes.

Day 2: 0 minutes!  Time to EAT!

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste (I felt it didn’t need any). Serve with parmesan cheese and soft italian bread.


Wilt the Greens

Wilt the Greens

Layer and cook more

Layer and cook more

Add Onions and Brown

Add Onions and Brown

Brown the Pancetta

Brown the Pancetta

Use Pancetta

Use Pancetta if you can, otherwise Bacon

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Comments (6)

  1. posted by Sivywong on August 30, 2014

    I loved Farmhouse, we used to go all the time as kids. Thank you for the recipe. Made it tonight and it was delish!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on August 31, 2014

      I’m so glad you liked it! How close did it come to your memory of that amazing soup?

  2. posted by Jack on October 7, 2014

    Very fond memories of their minestrone. Tried your recipe today. Flavors are spot on ! I used the Better Than Bouillon beef stock (omitting the steak/wine). I distinctly remember whole red kidney beans, so I added them. Toward the end of preparing, I felt it could use at least a cup more of the kale (key flavor). I also would encourage using a food processor to puree a third of the soup, then mixing it back in. The soup I remember was very viscous. Thanks again Dish Ditty for posting a very tasty recipe that brings me back!

    • posted by Dish Ditty on October 9, 2014

      That is great! I was so sad when they closed down. Let me know if you make any more modifications to it. I agree, I think kindey beans were in there too now that you mention it.

    • posted by Cindy on November 7, 2014

      Did you use canned red kidney beans? How much red kidney beans? Also how many servings is this? I’m a little confuse about the water, broth . If you don’t use the meat, how much broth do you use? Also do you still put in 8 cups of water? Thanks

      • posted by Dish Ditty on November 7, 2014

        Hi Cindy, I hope Jack will reply but my suggestion is to add a can or two of red kidney beans and keep the rest of the recipe as is. If you don’t want to use the meat, you can probably reduce the water to 6 cups, but you can adjust it if needed. Jack, any tips?


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