Minestrone – A Barabino Family Recipe

by Renee on September 6, 2012

Barabino Family Minestrone

Old family recipes are a true treasure. One of the great things about having a food blog is being able to share family recipes with the world. Not only do I get to share the recipe, I also get to share memories about each one. It is a way to record history for generations to come. When my friend Terry said I could share her family’s minestrone recipe I was beyond thrilled and honored.

The recipe comes from the Barabino family recipe book. Terry’s uncle, John Barabino, is the one who documented all the recipes. He typed each one and wrote notes for adjustments. I can only imagine how long it must have taken him to finish it. Putting it together had to be a labor of love. I spent hours one night looking through the book. It is amazing in so many ways.

Minestrone recipe page from Barabino family book

The Barabino family originates in Italy. It expanded to America when Terry’s grandmother, Felicina Delù, came to the United States at the turn of the century. You can find her name in the registry at Ellis Island. She spoke no English. She got a job sewing at a Manhattan dress shop. She saved for enough money to buy passage from Italy for her husband-to-be, Cesaré (Ceasar) Barabino. Ceasar opened a bakery and that was the family business. Terry’s dad worked in the bakery and delivered baked goods as a very young man.

There is also a Barabino bakery cookbook. It is fascinating to me too. One day I will tackle a recipe from that book. Those recipes are more of a challenge because of quantities and certain can’t find anymore ingredients.

The minestrone is delicious and hearty. I wondered how it would be because I am used to ones that are more tomato-y. It only took one taste to know this is the one I will use to compare others to from now on. A great big thank you to Terry and her family for allowing me to share the recipe and some of the Barabino history.



A 100+ year old Barabino family recipe by Felicina Delù Barabino and recorded by John Barabino in the family recipe book. Used with permission.

  • One cup dried peas (green split)
  • One cup dried beans (navy)
  • One cup lentils
  • Piece of salt pork (about 12 ounces)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stems, chopped
  • 1 russet potato, chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 ounces romano cheese, grated
  • 10 ounces (by dry weight) small elbow noodles
  • Chicken broth

In a 9-quart or larger stock or soup pot, add the dried peas, beans, and lentils. Add water to cover (about 2 inches above). Soak overnight. Drain water, rinse and cover with fresh water.

Add the salt pork, salt, cabbage, carrot, onion, celery, potato, tomatoes, garlic, and basil to the pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Stir the ingredients. Bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour.

Add the cheese and elbow noodles and cook until noodles are done. Add chicken broth as needed if too thick.


This recipe is adapted from the original one to expand on the method of preparation, reflect specific peas and beans used, and with substituting canned diced tomatoes for a tomato.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen @ Juanita's Cocina September 6, 2012 at 6:56 am

I am SO in the mood for soup today! I’m bookmarking this one for later! YUM!


Pam @ The Meltaways September 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

Minestrone is my FAVORITE! I love old family recipes – I only wish I had gotten some of my grandmother’s before it was too late. I can’t wait to try this version!


adam @unorthodoxepicure September 6, 2012 at 8:01 am

I make at least two pots of Minestrone every winter. I think this will be one of them. Nice.


Anita at Hungry Couple September 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

In the winter I LIVE on soup. What a delicious looking minestrone. I’m so glad you were able to share it with us.


Terry September 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

Thank you so much for this amazing tribute.


Renee September 8, 2012 at 10:10 am

You are very welcome. It really was an honor to share such a great recipe and piece of your family history.


Jennie @themessybakerblog September 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

I believe old family recipes to be the best kind of recipes because they come with memories, and memories are priceless. I miss my great grandmother so very much, and it’s a real shame, but my uncle threw all of her recipes away. To this day, I think about those recipes and the time when her and I spent hours in the kitchen. Every time I would visit her, she would get everything out of her fridge and place it on the kitchen table, then we’d fill our plates and chat about life.

This recipe looks amazing, Renee. It’s wonderful that you have those recipes and share them with us.


Renee September 8, 2012 at 10:10 am

What a shame your uncle threw away all those recipes. Hopefully you will be able to re-create some and record them for your family future generations.


Family Foodie September 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Oh this soup sounds so good! It is perfect to make ahead of time and get the boys out the door to football practice. Thank you for sharing!


Danyelle Franciosa September 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

This is good for winter! I love this soup dish.
Thank you for sharing this with us, I really appreciate this.


Eileen Gross | Wine Everyday September 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

If this recipe is still in circulation after 100 years, you know it must be good!
This is on the menu for next week, for sure!


Stacy September 7, 2012 at 2:24 am

This looks amazing, Renee! Bless Terry for sharing and Uncle John for taking the time to write it all down. Family recipes really are treasures!


Kristi Rimkus September 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

I love a minestrone soup, it’s so perfect for a crisp fall day.


Heather @girlichef September 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Old family recipes are ALWAYS the best! This sounds and looks like an amazing bowl of soup – I’d LOVE to try it!


Paula @ Vintage Kitchen September 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I can imagine how good this recipe is, coming all the way from Italy! This is a treasure Renee. And that bakery book, the fabulous recipes it must contain!


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