Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Vegetable soup, Milanese style
( Minestrone alla milanese )

Traditional recipe

Milanese minestrone is full of vegetables and was traditionally made with rice and pork rinds. Its recipe requires to fry slightly some vegetables in lard and butter or olive oil (soffritto). It has recently been revisited and more often we see pasta instead of rice, and pork rinds used less and less. I'm going to show you my own version without butter, lard and pork rinds as most Italians do nowadays.

difficulty: easy

time: preparation: 30 minutes
cooking: about 1 hour 30 minutes
total time: 2 hours

calories: 433 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 150g (5 1/3 ounces) Swiss chard
  • 500g (1.1 pounds) green cabbage
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) dried borlotti beans
  • 300g (10 1/2 ounces) ripe and firm tomatoes
  • 300g (10 1/2 ounces) potatoes
  • 150g (5 1/3 ounces) carrots
  • 250g (8 3/4 ounces) leek
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) fresh young onions
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • Some sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 sage leaf
  • Some leaves fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 40g (1 1/2 ounces) pancetta or bacon, cubed
  • 120g (4 1/4 ounces) rice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5l (5 1/4 pints) vegetable stock
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper, if liked
easy recipe
preparation: 30 minutes
cooking: about 1 hour 30 minutes
total time: 2 hours
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 433 (kcal) 22 % - 1814 (kJ)
Protein: 17.0 (g) 34 % GDA
Total fat: 14.1 (g) 21 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 65.0 (g) 25 % GDA
Sugars: 14.7 (g) 17 % GDA

Download free PDF version (272 download).

Milanese minestrone recipe


  • - The day before
    Soak dried beans in cold water overnight.
  • - The day after
    Prepare all other ingredients.
    Clean, wash and chop parsley.
    Wash sage and basil leaves and peel garlic clove.
    Clean leek and slice it finely.
    Peel carrots and cube them.
    Clean celery and slice it finely.
    Peel onions and chop.
    Wash Swiss chard and divide their green leaves from stalks. Slice Swiss chard stalks finely.
    Wash green cabbage and chop it roughly.
    Peel tomatoes and remove their seeds. Cube their flesh.


  • - Let bacon fry slightly in a non-stick frying pan over a very low heat without any fat and then remove it with a skimming ladle. Put it apart. This step is necessary to remove the fat in excess. Do not make it if not necessary for you!
  • - Prepare vegetable stock.
  • Meanwhile ...
    ... put olive oil, garlic clove and chopped onions in a large pan.
    Let all these ingredients fry slightly over a medium heat, some minutes, but be careful they don't become brown.
    Then remove garlic, if you don't want to eat it, and add bacon, green cabbage, celery, carrots, leek, Swiss chard stalks, tomatoes, sage and beans (drained from their soaking water).
    Let all these vegetables flavor, some minutes, and then pour hot stock into the pan.
    Season to taste with salt and continue cooking, half-covered, stirring now and then with a wooden spoon, over a very low heat, about 60 minutes.
    At this point add Swiss chard leaves, parsley and potatoes, peeled and washed.
    Continue cooking, other 30 minutes.
    Crush potatoes with a fork and add rice.
    Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until rice is soft.
    Cut in basil leaves just before turning off the stove.

Just before serving

  • - Serve your Milanese minestrone hot, warm or at room temperature according to your own taste.
    Accompany with grated Parmesan cheese in a bowl apart.



  • - Very long cooking times were necessary when it was usual to add pork rinds to Milanese minestrone. Now it is not essential. If you prefer almost melted vegetables you have to cook at least 2 hours. I prefer to reduce cooking time because now it is well known vitamins are lost in this way.
  • - If fresh beans are in season, use 200g (7 ounces) fresh beans that is 400g (14 ounces) if bought in their pod.
  • - I use chilli pepper instead of pepper.
  • - Add a clove of garlic, if you like it.
  • - This is my own version of vegetable soup, Milanese-style. In Italy every family has its own ;)
milanese minestrone
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Baked Milanese minestrone

Menu planning

  • - Generally, Milanese minestrone is made for family menu. We Italians have the habit to prepare a large amount of it because if there are leftovers, it tastes fantastic once reheated!
  • - It is one-plate meal. Eventually, you can increase the amount of pasta slightly. Close your meal with fresh seasonal fruit.
  • - I found the way to serve it even in my get-togethers. Look at the photo at your right. Isn't it nice? It is a single portion of baked minestrone topped with pancetta slices :)) It's easy to do it.
    Prepare minestrone in advance and let it cool. Add one or more eggs according to its quantity and some tablespoons of grated Parmesan. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and distribute minestrone in single-serving silicone molds. Level the surface and bake until golden. I sometimes line my molds with slices of pancetta before adding minestrone or place them on the top of baked minestrone servings once I have turned them upside down and are still hot. Choose the best way for you ;)

Healthy eating

  • - I calculated Milanese minestrone calories without taking into account the Parmesan cheese. Consider that each tablespoon of Parmesan cheese increases the values ​​that you can read in nutrition facts above. In fact every tablespoon has 50-60 calories, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of total fat.
  • - This is a recipe for the Mediterranean diet provided you do not use any butter and do not increase total fat.
  • - Fiber per serving: 14.1 grams (the daily intake is 30 grams per head)


What's the right wine for " Vegetable soup, Milanese style "?

Pair Riesling Italico from Oltrepo Pavese (white wine from Lombardy) to this dish.