You must be thinking “minestrone soup”? In Peru? Yes, the soup shows some of the many influences of Italian cuisine in Peru, brought by Italians who migrated to Lima as far back as 1530s. The base color of the soup is green from the combination of spinach and basil. But there is so much more to it than just soup – it’s a meal in itself. Filled with meat, beans, legumes and vegetables, and served with rice, one large bowl of Sopa Menestron will be enough to fill you up for the rest of the day.
My mom cooked minestrone soup on Sundays and it always came accompanied with a side of white rice, even though it had ziti-style noodles in it since my dad wanted noodles in the soup. This is how she served the soup: she’d put it in a large bowl with a piece of meat, potato, corn and vegetables. We’d get a small plate of white rice on the side and you could either transfer the white rice into the bowl or place your meat, potato and corn on the plate and eat it with the rice. Whichever way you eat it, this soup is delicious – let me know what you think of this Peruvian version of minestrone.
Serves: 6 - 8
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup spinach leaves
1 garlic clove
2 qts water
2 qts natural beef stock
2 lb of cubed beef loin (preferable with the bone)
2 celery leaves
½ cup leek, small diced
½ cup pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 medium white potatoes, quartered
2 oz white beans
2 oz lima beans
3 corn on the cob, husk removed and cut into three pieces
½ cup green beans, medium diced
2 carrots, medium diced
1 ½ cup ziti noodles
1 small green cabbage, cut into six wedges
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to taste
. Place the olive oil, basil, spinach and garlic clove in a blender and blend for 3 minutes or until a puree forms – if needed, you can add two tablespoons of water to help it emulsify. Pour the mix in a large bowl and set aside.
2. In a large pot over medium high heat, pour the water and beef stock then add the beef, celery leaves, leek and pumpkin. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium and let simmer for 1 hour.
3. Then add the white potato, white beans, lima beans, corn, green beans and carrots. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the noodles, cabbage and the spinach/basil mixture. Cook for about 10 more minutes until the noodles are al dente.
4. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve. Enjoy!