Tag: minestrone

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

This dish combines the two culinary worlds which influence my kitchen activities the most, Malta’s Mediterranean cuisine and Tyrol’s cosy comfort food. I cooked a warming minestrone the way I know it from my Maltese granny Edith, with lots of pumpkin, zucchini (qarabaghli in Maltese) and kohlrabi. This soup can take the most varied collection of vegetables so I also added some cauliflower, celery stalk, potatoes and carrots. It’s a deliciously sweet broth of all the strengthening  fruits of the season, and once the vegetables are chopped, it only takes 15 minutes !

Whenever I sit in Edith’s kitchen in Msida enjoying this comforting soul food, she sprinkles freshly grated parmesan over the steaming dish, but here in the North, I wanted to add something richer to satisfy our strong appetite. In the cold season, I’m a big fan of saturating additions to light and healthy soups, Tyrolean frittaten, called Flaedle in the Swabian region in southern Germany, are one of my first choices. They are made of thin crêpes refined with chives, rolled up in a tight wrap and cut into slim strips. Frittaten look like pancake snails and turn a minestrone into a special treat, the eggy pastry adds a hearty feel to this meal which I absolutely love about wintery soups!

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

For 4-6 people you need

For the frittaten

plain flour, sieved, 70g / 2.5 ounces
salt 1/8 teaspoon
organic egg, beaten, 1
milk 120ml / 4 ounces
chives, snipped 3 tablespoons
butter, to fry the crêpes

Mix the flour, salt, egg and milk to a smooth dough (with an electric mixer) and let it sit for 15 minutes before you mix in the chives.

In a non-stick pan, heat a teaspoon of butter. Pour in a ladle of the dough, holding the pan in your hand and turning it so that the dough spreads evenly and very thinly. The temperature should be on medium-high as the crêpes won’t need more than 1 minute on each side once the heat is set right. When the crêpe is golden on both sides take it out and continue with the remaining dough. Always heat a teaspoon of butter before you add new dough to the pan. Roll up each crêpe very tightly and cut into thin strips (snails).

 

For the minestrone

medium sized onion, chopped, 1
cauliflower, cut into small pieces, 160g / 5.5 ounces
butternut squash, peeled, cut into small cubes, 160g / 5.5 ounces
zucchini, cut into small cubes, 160g / 5.5 ounces
kohlrabi, peeled, cut into small cubes, 50g / 2 ounces
carrot, peeled, cut into small cubes, 80g / 3 ounces
potato, peeled, cut into small cubes, 100g / 3.5 ounces
celery stalk, cut into small cubes, 1
medium sized tomato, cut into small cubes, 1
broth, hot, 1.5l / 3 pints
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
bay leaf 1
spring onion, thinly sliced, 2
salt and pepper
olive oil

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the onion for a few minutes on medium heat until golden and soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add a little more oil and the chopped vegetables (apart from the spring onions), stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the hot broth and the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Stir in the spring onion, season to taste and serve with the frittaten.

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

Minestrone alla Genovese with Zucchini, Beans and Parmesan

Minestrone with Zucchini, Beans and Parmesan

A minestrone simmering on the cooker puts me a into a comfortable mood, the smell and taste reminds me of the kitchens of all the great cooks in my family and it makes me feel at home! I’m very lucky as I’m surrounded by a few women who have mastered the art of a good minestrone.

My Maltese granny Edith cooks her vegetable soup with courgette, marrows and potatoes and I learnt from her that a little parmesan sprinkled on top makes all the difference. The cheese melts into the warming broth and adds a hearty touch to it. My mother goes with the seasons and uses whatever her vegetable garden offers. Beans, cabbage, peas, potatoes, carrots, the list is long and inspiring. She walks through her garden with a big basket in her hand and picks the fruits and vegetables that fit her mood. She taught me to chop everything into small cubes and blanch each vegetable in the broth separately. This way you avoid some vegetables becoming too soggy and soft while others stay crunchy. I don’t always do this, sometimes I cook it all at once, it depends on the texture I want to achieve.

My minestrone never tastes the same, I like to try out new variations and this one was inspired by the north of Italy, the Minestrone alla Genovese! This warming soup is so rich in flavours, cooked with cabbage, dried butter beans, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, fennel, tomatoes, celery and leak, I listened to both women to be rewarded with a very satisfying result, I chopped the vegetables into little cubes which would have pleased my mother but I cooked them all at once for not more than 20 minutes. I just cooked the soaked dried butter beans separately as they needed about an hour. After I filled my flavourful soup into the plates, I scattered some parsley leaves and grated parmesan over it, thanks to Edith!

When I cook minestrone, I cook lots of it as I like to put a few portions in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner. Once the chopping is done, it just needs another half an hour, so you might as well prepare a bit more. You could also add some little pasta like Anellini or Risini to make the dish a bit richer.

Minestrone with Zucchini, Beans and Parmesan

 

Minestrone with Zucchini, Beans and Parmesan

Minestrone alla Genovese

For a large pot of around 4l / 8.5 pints of minestrone (for about 8-12 people) you need

big dried butter beans, soaked over night, 200g / 7 ounces
large onion, chopped, 1
white cabbage, cut into small cubes, 200g / 7 ounces
carrots, cut into small cubes, 150g / 5.5 ounces
zucchini, cut into small cubes, 150g / 5.5 ounces
leak, cut into small cubes, 100g / 3.5 ounces
potatoes, cut into small cubes, 200g / 7 ounces
fennel bulb, cut into small cubes, 100g / 3.5 ounces
large celery stalk, cut into small cubes, 1
large tomatoes, cut into small cubes, 2
broth, hot, 2.8l / 6 pints
garlic, crushed, 3 cloves
bay leaf 1
salt and pepper
olive oil
parmesan, grated, for the topping
fresh parsley leaves, a handful, for the topping

In a large pot, cook the soaked beans for about an hour or until al dente, drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the onion for a few minutes on medium heat till golden and soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add a little more oil and the chopped vegetables, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the hot broth, the beans and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes. Season to taste and serve sprinkled with parmesan and parsley.

Minestrone with Zucchini, Beans and Parmesan

 

Minestrone with Zucchini, Beans and Parmesan

 

Minestrone with Zucchini, Beans and Parmesan