Minestrone Soup



If you haven’t already noticed, I have taken a very long break from blogging. Along with exercising, time conversing with my husband without interruption, and showering (don’t judge), blogging is what I deem to be an “extra-curricular activity” these days. All for good reason. I had a beautiful baby boy last May and in a nutshell, it has been one crazy ride. He is my second child and thankfully, my 4-year daughter just adores her new brother (when he isn’t trying to eat the hair from her Elsa doll of course).

I am a stay-at-home mom and while I wouldn’t have it any other way, I am not going to lie when I say there are times I wonder to myself, “What am I doing here?” while all hell is breaking loose around me. Yet I look at those two little munchkins each day and I am quickly reminded how lucky I am to have two happy and healthy kids who are growing like weeds right before my eyes. They need me and let’s face it, it is nice to be needed (even at ungodly hours of the night).

The good news is that I am still cooking in my kitchen just under much different circumstances. I am fairly certain that I could win one of those Top Chef competitions where the chefs are required to cook with one hand tied behind their back. Instead of having my hand tied behind my back, I would be challenged to cook a three course meal holding an 8-month old attached to my hip the whole time.

I have been on a soup kick lately given that everyone in my household has been sick since the New Year and let’s face it, all you really want to do when you are sick is slurp hot soup and sleep. Comforting and hearty, soups are a great way one-pot meal. My mother-in-law shared her recipe with me for minestrone soup Tuscan style which is a huge hit in our family. We have been eating it all winter long. I even made enough to jar some up and bring it on a recent trip to Tahoe with good friends. Both the adults and kids including the little dude devoured it.


This recipe is very versatile. You can use any mix of vegetables that you like. The original recipe calls for cabbage but I substituted kale because I felt like it. I also like to add small shaped pasta to the finished product to make it even heartier. And don’t forget to finish it with a sprinkle of parmesan and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil for true Italian style minestrone!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Minestrone Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 head of kale, leaves removed from the stems and chopped into 1" pieces
  • 3 small Russett potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 zucchini, diced
  • 1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes with their juice
  • 3 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lb small shaped pasta such as ditalini or farfalline
  1. Place potatoes in a medium sized pot filled with water. Boil until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork. Drain in a colander and set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot, add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom and sauté the celery, carrots and onions over medium heat until soft about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add enough water to fill about half of pot and then add the kale and zucchini.
  4. Using a food mill or potato masher, mash the cooked potatoes and transfer them to the pot.
  5. Repeat with half of the pinto beans and add the mashed and whole ones to the pot. At this point, you may need to add more water depending on how you like the consistency of your minestrone. The potatoes and beans will absorb quite a bit of the liquid.
  6. Lastly, add the chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Simmer the minestrone over medium-low heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the veggies are cooked well and the broth has thickened. If you are using pasta, be sure to cook it separately and add to the soup right before serving. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top, and enjoy!


Meyer Lemon Ricotta Blackberrry Scones

Blackberry Ricotta Scones

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Scones

Baking is a process of trial and error. In the case of these Meyer lemon ricotta scones, my first attempt at making them was mediocre at best. I am guessing it was partly due to my insistence on taking a photo of the dough to post on social media that by the time I got the scones into oven, the butter had softened too much and melted out during baking. If you are familiar with making scones, cold butter is the key to a flaky, light texture. Much to my dismay, the scones came out the complete opposite of what I had hoped they would be. Flat and chewy, they were a poor excuse for a scone and hardly blog worthy. Sigh.

And while I am personally a fan of the fragrant and sweet Meyer lemon, I have found that some people are not quite sure what to make of the flavor. One of those people would happen to be my husband and willing taste-tester. When I saw him slop on more jam on his scone to cut through the intense flavor of the Meyer lemon, I knew it was time to tweak the recipe.

I am relieved to report that my second attempt was a success. The addition of fresh blackberries added a burst of sweetness and color to the end result. I also made sure to not overwork the dough when kneading and, more importantly, bypassed the urge to report every move via social media to get the scones right into oven. And if you haven’t already noticed if you’ve been an avid follower of my blog, I have an addiction to ricotta and love incorporating it into baked goods. It adds a delicate and light crumb to the texture of the scones.

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Scones

The scones are best served warm with lemon curd or your favorite fruit jam.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Meyer Lemon Ricotta Blackberrry Scones
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese (I used Calabro brand, hand-packed)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup blackberries, halved
  • Heavy cream, for brushing the scones
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and Meyer lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and whisk until combined. There will still be a few lumps. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and sugar. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and toss with a fork just until the butter is coated with flour. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or your hands, cut the butter into the flour until you have a mixture of pea-sized or slightly larger clumps of butter and flour.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until just combined. Be careful to not overwork the dough. It's okay if some of the flour isn't entirely incorporated. Gently fold in the blackberries. Turn out the dough onto a well floured space and gently knead the dough a few times. If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little bit of flour as you knead. Pat the dough down into a disk, about ½ inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 wedges or cut into rounds with a biscuit or cookie cutter.
  5. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet and brush with heavy cream. Bake for about 20 mins, or until the scones are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack and serve.