musings about food, travel, creativity and life

Comfort, Please!

It isn’t easy writing “up” things when I, or those I love, are experiencing sadnesses or hard challenges.  You’ve heard me talk about this dilemma before.

Right now our little community and much of California is experiencing rain and flooding. People are evacuated and waiting to see/hear about the status of their homes. Most are tired of the grey and news of continuing rain and wind.  Certainly the drought situation is being ameliorated and that’s a good thing.  But many people are suffering.

SO…how to contribute something positive but realistic in my blog about bringing joy to the table?  “Make minestrone,” says my Italian self.

And that’s what I did on Sunday.  Since then, we have had warm, yummy soup everyday to help comfort us as we deal with whatever weather comes our way.  

I published my family recipe for minestrone in this blog many years ago; I include it again here as my small contribution to the nourishment, comfort and pleasure of anyone who needs it and feels like cooking!  


Serves: 4-6

1 ½ cups dried cranberry beans (sorted, cleaned, covered with water by 3 inches and soaked overnight) or 2-15 oz. cans of kidney (or pinto) beans

2 T. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped

5 leaves fresh basil, chopped; or 1 tablespoon, dried

1 bay leaf

1 ½ T. Italian herbs

1 T. dry rosemary, chopped

Seasonal vegetables-chopped

            2 zucchini, 2 celery ribs, 2 carrots, 1 fennel bulb, 5 or 6 leaves of swiss chard. Plus 1 cup shredded  white or red cabbage, 1 cubed potato, and 1 cup green beans cut into thirds

8 cups broth (vegetable, chicken or beef)

2 T. butter

3 T. tomato paste

4 oz. dry spaghetti, broken into thirds

8 oz. sliced cooked chicken sausage (optional)

2 T. pesto sauce (optional)

Grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, parsley, herbs.  Sauté until onions are soft.  Add all the chopped vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the beans and broth and bring to a boil.  (If using canned beans, add them halfway into the cooking time.)  Add the butter and tomato paste. Simmer for at least an hour, or until beans are soft.  Remove bay leaf.

Add the spaghetti and sausage (if desired), return to a slow boil and cook until the pasta is done.

To give the soup a Ligurian touch, just before serving, mix in the pesto sauce.

Top with Parmesan cheese.

Accompany the minestrone with a local olive bread or sour dough baguette and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio, if so inclined, and…



14 thoughts on “Comfort, Please!”

  • Thank you Lynn for sharing your minestrone recipe.
    What a beautiful table you set! I mean that literally and metaphorically.
    Well-now that our power is back on and I am living in the light, perhaps I’ll get out the soup pot too!

    • Thanks, Barbara. Hope you enjoy whatever you choose to cook in that soup pot. And about the table setting, the soup dishes and plates are my parents’ and were the ones I ate my minestrone from growing up. So there are a lot of good nourishing vibes going on when the minestrone is ladled into those bowls🤗

  • Lyn ! Those big words !! ameliorated ? Glad I married an English teacher……Much Love to you and John :0)

  • It warms me up just thinking about it.. I still have your published book of family recipes. I have been concerned about your welfare during these storms.

  • So sorry about all the flooding in your area. Hope you are safe and dry. I’ve had minestrone on my mind and will make some soon. One question: Do you rinse and drain the canned beans? I have so many recipes that drain and several that don’t. I don’t want to screw up after I chop all those veggies.🤨 I hope 2023 is a good year for you and John. Cheers, Jeanne

    • So great to hear from you and we are a-okay. As for the beans, I do drain and rinse them, but who knows…it works for me. And if “after it all,” it looks like you need more liquid, I add water or more broth. Let that Florentina part of you be the guide for all❣️Love to you and Roger💓

  • Dearest Lynn,
    You and John and my other California friends are certainly on my mind during this terrible weather event that is causing so much damage and difficulty. Good for you for delivering the joy and comfort of your family minestrone recipe! I certainly find that a good bowl of homemade soup, fresh bread and a salad makes for the perfect antidote to a cold, dreary, rainy day/week/month! Sometimes I even add that glass of wine!
    I hope you are staying dry and warm up in the hills and that your community is not too negatively impacted by the atmospheric river that has invaded your state!
    Sending you lots of love and hopes for a good drying out period ahead.

    • Thanks, dear friend. I know you’ve experienced intense weather at times, too. I guess everywhere in the world does. Soup’s already on the stove here for tonight’s ode to comfort and gratitude for having a safe warm home to be in💓

  • Thanks Lynn. We call it lynnastroni but didin’t bring recipe with us to California. Now have it saved on my computer. Perfect for this rainy time.

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