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.
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.
- 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 diced tomatoes 14.5 ounces
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped or crushed
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 ounces romano cheese grated
- 10 ounces small elbow noodles by dry weight
- 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.