I’ve always thought cooking minestrone was hard.
I have no idea how I came to that conclusion. Maybe it was the list of ingredients, which is usually long; or the cooking time, also long; or the method description, yup, long.
But if I think about minestrone as a soup version of “must-goes” (everything in the refrigerator must go—and in this case, the freezer, too), that begins to change my perception: the ingredients are whatever is on hand. I think this is actually the soul of minestrone—a country-style, hearty, bean and vegetable soup cooked in thrifty kitchens around the world to use up scraps or to harness abundance to the needs of good appetites. The pressure cooker also changes cooking times from long to short.
So. The long and short of it is this: throw what you’ve got in a pot and cook it until it’s done. If you start with dried beans, cook it a longer time; if canned beans, a shorter time. My minestrone soup‘s ingredient list is long and idiosyncratic—frozen broth, roasted pumpkin, roasted peppers, onion, celery, carrot, chard, plus herbs, spices, and dried white beans—but it’s what I had on hand and what occurred to me to use. I hope it will inspire you to make your own version.