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Cuisine Quest: Updating a classic minestrone soup

Published November 8, 2011 10:07 am

Cuisine quest • Forget the beef bouillon cubes and three dirty pots.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Though Ristorante della Fontana has been gone for over 10 years, requests often come in for the restaurant's recipes. It's a good thing that Glen Young crafted a cookbook in 1998 of the restaurant's most popular dishes, including the minestrone soup. Reader Doreene Connell recently asked for the soup and here's a shot of the who's who list of those who offered up their copies of the recipe: Pamela Mollner, Carol D. Ekdahl, Mary Lou Godbe, Debbie Anderson, Marolyn Siddoway, Debbie Stegen-Peck, Maureen Pruitt and Sara Hofmann.

Times have changed since the recipe was crafted, and today you'll see an altered version of the restaurant's soup. Most notably missing are the chicken and beef bouillon cubes, granulated garlic and canned green beans. With 39 ingredients — many of which I can't even begin to pronounce — beef bouillon is downright unhealthy and just doesn't need to be included. Same goes for the chicken bouillon, which had 23 ingredients.

There also are other versions of this soup, including one that ran in The Tribune. That recipe adds 1 cup peas and 1 cup garbanzo beans to the mix.

I also streamlined the recipe a bit, ensuring only one pot gets dirtied, rather than three as instructed in the original recipe.

Requests • Tyler Bardsley would like to get the red enchilada sauce from El Chihuahua restaurant in Salt Lake City.

Reader Sue Johnson would like a great potato cheese soup recipe, similar to the one made at Marie Callendar's.

Cinegrill's red sauce on its spaghetti and lasagna is a request from M. Yorgason.

If you're interested in purchasing Ristorante della Fontana's cookbook, email me at lneilson@sltrib.com along with your phone number and I can put you in touch with cookbook author, Glen Young.

Send requests to lneilson@sltrib.com or c/o The Salt Lake Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. —

Ristorante della Fontana's minestrone soup

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup diced onions

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup pearl barley

3 cups water

1 cup chopped cabbage

1 cup chopped spinach

1 cup green beans, chopped into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup canned kidney beans

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 (32-ounce) boxes beef broth plus 1 cup

1 cup ditalini pasta

In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the pearl barley and water to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, about 35 minutes.

Add the cabbage, spinach and green beans and continue to cook, covered, until the spinach has wilted and the cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, kidney beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, about 15 minutes.

Add the pasta and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes • 5 quarts

Source: Adapted from Ristorante della Fontana —

What's in beef bouillon?

Here's what is in Wyler's instant bouillon beef cubes that were, I confess, in my pantry.

Salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate, sugar, onion powder, beef fat, hydrolyzed corn protein, dextrose, corn syrup solids, beef stock, garlic powder, beef extract, natural beef flavor, water, soybean oil, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, hydrolyzed torula and brewers yeast protein, corn maltodextrin, caramel color, autolyzed yeast extract, calcium silicate, hydrolyzed wheat gluten protein, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavors, lactic acid, silicon dioxide, calcium lactate (milk), soy lecithin, artificial beef flavor, tricalcium phosphate, prophyl gallate, fd&c red #40, butter fat, alpha tocopherol (antioxidant), BHA (preservative), citric acid.

Lesli J. Neilson