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Memories of Farmhouse Minestrone Soup Recipe

Memories of Farmhouse Minestrone Soup

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