Minestrone with Silvano


Ever since Silvano Marchetto opened his New York City restaurant Da Silvano in 1975, patrons have been asking him for recipes. In response to their requests, he published "Da Silvano Cookbook" (Bloomsbury USA), filled with classic Italian recipes, including favorites such as this hearty minestrone, a recipe passed down by Silvano's mother.


  • 8 ounces dried cannellini beans

  • Fine sea salt

  • 1 medium red onion, quartered with roots attached plus 1 medium red

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 celery stalks, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices

  • 2 large carrots, cut into ¼-inch rounds

  • 1 2 pound Savoy cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped

  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup defrosted frozen peas or blanched fresh peas

  • ½ pound tubetti pasta, cooked

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving (optional)


  1. Soak the cannellini beans overnight in enough cold water to cover. Drain and set aside.

  2. Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and the quartered onion. Bring back to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until the beans are cooked, about 1 hour.

  3. Drain the beans over a bowl. Reserve the beans and their cooking liquid separately. When the beans are cool enough to handle, pick out and discard the onion.

  4. Peel the potatoes. Cut two of the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Leave the third potato whole.

  5. Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until lightly colored, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and saute until they begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the potatoes with the paste. Cook for 3 minutes, adding a little water to prevent the tomato paste from sticking. Add the celery, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, and the whole potato.

  6. Add the bean cooking liquid to the pot, plus enough water to cover by 1-inch. Raise the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat immediately and cook until the whole potato is fork tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the whole potato, mash or rice it, and return it to the pot, stirring it in to thicken the soup. Stir the peas and the tubetti into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Divide among individual bowls and, if desired, sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over each serving.

Related Articles