Minestrone della Nonna

This Minestrone della Nonna recipe was written by Sara Danesin – UK MasterChef Finalist 2011 – for Garofalo pasta, and we are most grateful to have her send it to Kitchen Geekery too.
The struggle to get children to eat vegetables is frequently linked to how they are presented (frequently too big, too obvious, boiled to death, with no flavour etc). This recipe for Minestrone della Nonna provides a wide array of vegetables coupled with flavour, ease of eating and mixes very well with pasta like Risoni.
It is amazing how popular dish can be with children who would normally not get anywhere near such an array of vegetables.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4


  • 100 g parmigiano
  • 3 potatoes (diced)
  • 3 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 cup of orzo
  • 1 cup frozen/fresh garden peas
  • 1 cup borlotti beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 shallot (diced)
  • 1 celery stick (diced)
  • ¼ savoy cabbage (diced)
  • 1 broccoli floret (diced)
  • 1 leek (diced)
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • basil leaves (to add at the end)


  • All the above (except basil) diced and placed in a large pan with at least 1 litre of boiling water.
  • Season and cook for at least one hour.
  • Blitz either all or half to a coarse puree’ with a hand held blender – depending on the texture you desire.
  • Cook the pasta separately and once Al Dente place it into the soup, stir and simmer for a couple of minutes and add finely chopped basil leaves, and sprinkle some good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Serve at once and enjoy. In summer (if hot!) the minestrone can be served at room temperature.
The Roman army is said to have marched on minestrone and pasta e ceci (Beans and pasta).