help my ugly minestrone. . .
made a big pot of minestrone. seemed like a good idea, lots of veggies around etc etc.
tastes fine, but is terribly ugly.
i was using the recipe for minestrone alla romagna from the hazan book, except i had to sub a few ingredients. no green beans in the market, so i used yellow wax beans. since i wanted more colors than just yellowish white, i switched to red kidney beans instead of cannelini.
for those unfamiliar it also contains zuccinni squash, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots onions celery and cheese.
i watered down the stock, i used 4 cups stock and 2 cups water (her stock recipe is very weak).
in the end, i had a tastey soup but SO ugly looking. it looks like something that should be fed to oliver twist. brownish orangish broth. . . maybe it was the beans switching that browned it out??
so, in your opinion, what should the color of minestrone be? I think i would do more tomatoes next time and just let it be red. also i don't know why i put in kidney beans of any kind, i really think they suck. they are never creamy and the skins are unpleasant. i think roman beans should replace them whenever possible.
I find the mixture of green and red is what causes that brown results. Two things that I do to brighten it. First, I used canned tomatoes lightly crushed and not too many of them--I don't think minestrone should be a tomato soup. Second, right before serving I add a couple handfuls of arugula, it wilts but stays green. Finish with a good grating of parm and a swirl of olive oil and I think it looks great......though a dollop of parsley or basil peso right at the end certainly can't hurt!
My minestrone is by no means traditional as it turns out a very red colour due to a healthy dose of passata. I also use kidney beans regularly and agree that they can discolour less robust soups. I find that a bit of sweetcorn livens up the look of about anything, along with some fresh herbs sprinkled over the top. To me, chesse is always added at serving rather than in the pot, unless I'm using the parm heel in the soup.
The dark beans are one culprit for sure. A minestrone should be reddish in color, but not too red resembling tomato soup. All the colors of the other vegetables should not bleed very much, but the tomato will bleed the most, as will any dark kidney bean. This is likely why Hazan calls for white beans in her minestrone -- she achieves that desired creaminess without much discoloration to her soup. Also, a good tip when making minestrone is to use fresh peeled tomatoes (not canned) and of course, only use white beans. If you don't like the texture of the skins, puree the beans first and reduce the quantity used. HTH.
Did you peel the zucchini? My minestrone has carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomato puree and diced tomatoes, veggie broth, zucchini, white beans, tiny pasta -- and I think it's very pretty! I keep the veg pretty chunky and leave the peels on the zucchini, and it looks like stained glass or something, a fairly translucent orangey-red broth with lots of colorful bits throughout.
I totally agree with you about kidney beans. Such an unpleasant texture.