This rosemary-infused Tuscan Minestrone recipe is adapted from The Silver Spoon, a massive and wonderful Italian cookbook. This extensive cookbook contains a Minestrone chapter with 10 regional minestrone recipes.
I wouldn't describe myself as a minestrone fan, but this white bean version changed my mind. Wow! I love the fact that it uses rice instead of pasta. I took some shortcuts (I used canned navy beans and infused them with rosemary & olive oil rather than using dried cannellini beans, soaking overnight, and then simmering for 2 hours with rosemary and bay leaf, and used canned tomatoes) and added some of my own ingredients (tomato and pesto pastes). The recipe calls for grated parmesean, but I didn't feel it needed any embellishment, so this is a vegan recipe. The basil paste I used is Amore, which is also vegan. Pureeing half of the beans makes the broth a substantial and comforting base for the fresh spring vegetables.
Tuscan Minestrone (adapted from The Silver Spoon):
8oz white beans, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp olive oil
Sprig of fresh rosemary
I large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
4 oz chopped canned tomatoes and liquid
1 zucchini, chopped
1 leek, white part only, chopped
3-4 cups water (I didn't measure, I just estimate)
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp basil paste
1/2 cup cooked rice
Clean rosemary and remove leaves. Add the leaves to 2 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl and microwave for 10 second. Allow to sit for 10 minutes +. Take half of the drained beans and put into a food processor along with the rosemary olive oil. Puree, adding water, until smooth.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat remaining olive oil and cook onion for 4-5 minutes. Add the carrot and parsley and cook one additional minute. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, and leek and cook 4 minutes. Add the water, the beans, and the bean puree. Add water until the broth is at your prefered consistency. Add the tomato and basil paste and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cooked rice, and season to taste. Cook 5-10 minutes longer, then serve. We had this with leftover baguette with basil butter!