Friday, November 6, 2015

Mamma's Minestra

Mamma's Minestra

    Minestra, is literally one of two translations for an Italian soup, the other being zuppa. The difference is just between which one contains pasta or beans and which contains mainly a broth. Either way the difference is mostly lost here in the USA. Any soup that is Italian based that contains beans and or pasta can be called a Minestra. If the soup contains mostly broth and possibly bread it can be called Zuppa. I am sure you have heard of Minestrone, which is another Italian soup that is mostly vegetables but has its roots in the Latin word Minestra. Growing up in an Italian home we always called this dish "Minest", (Pronounced Ma-nast), "Minestra", etc. I have a few friends who also come from the same type of family and they have their own version of a "Minest". I have seen it with pasta, beans, pork, potatoes, pepperoni, and greens. A good friend of mine gave me some of her mother's leftover and told me it was "Minash", I had no clue what she was talking about, but that just shows the difference in dialects even among American Italian families. Ours was always just a beef, pasta, and bean dish. Very much different than our Pasta e Fagioli which was a tomato base or left over marinara base with beans and pasta and usually had just a little pork in it. Our Minest was beef base and does have a distinctive and different taste.

    This dish is one of those that takes only a few minutes and is so flavorful that it always reminds me of my mother. Since it is becoming colder here in WV, it is one of those soups that I will be making at least a couple times of month. So quick and easy but full of flavor that it will definitely warm you up on those cold evenings. Mama's Minestra, (Ma-nast).


  • 1 lb stew beef
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 32oz beef stock
  • 1 32oz water
  • 1 15oz can kidney or pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • Salt/pepper
  • Olive Oil

1. Dice up the stew beef into bite size pieces. Salt and pepper. In a Dutch Oven over medium high heat brown the beef in a little olive oil.

2. Chop up the onion and toss in and saute.

3. Pour in the beef stock and water.

4. Bring to simmer and toss in the drained diced tomatoes.

5. Simmer on medium low for about 20 minutes

6. Drain and toss in the beans.

7. Cook for another 10 minutes.

8. Stir in the pasta and cook until done.

9. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

     So quick and easy you will definitely be making this easy Italian Minest right away. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 5 +


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