My mother made minestra all the time when I was growing up and it was one of my favorite meals. In fact, it was the meal I most often requested she make as my birthday dinner. Maybe I was always a vegan at heart.
Over the years, as much as I tried, I couldn’t get the recipe to taste like Mom’s. I tried again this week. Nailed it. Buon appetito!
Minestra over Fried Polenta
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced into large chunks
2 cans of kidney beans, undrained
3 bunches of Swiss chard or endive, sliced into short ribbons (stems are okay)
3 ½ Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 Tbs. minced garlic
4 C. vegetable broth
- Heat 1 Tbs. of olive oil in a large skillet. Fry the potatoes until the outside is slightly crispy but not thoroughly cooked. Set aside in a bowl.
- In the same pan, heat up ½ Tbs. olive oil. Add greens and cook until wilted. In the last minute of cooking add minced garlic and stir to combine.
- Cook polenta according to instructions (I used 1 ½ cups of polenta). After polenta is cooked, press onto a floured surface into a 9×9” square. Polenta should be approximately 1” thick
- Sprinkle more flour on top of polenta and cut into 9 squares.
- Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Fry polenta slices for 3 minutes on each side and move to paper towel to drain. You may need to add more oil to the pan as it gets absorbed by the polenta.
- Heat vegetable broth to boiling in a large pot and add potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes then add beans with their liquid, and greens and garlic mixture. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add salt and/or garlic powder to taste.
- Serve beans and greens over fried polenta.