Menestrón is the Peruvian version of minestrone soup, brought to the country by Italian migrants. What makes this soup Peruvian is the addition of native ingredients, such as potato and cassava. This is a pesto-based version of minestrone (as opposed to tomato-based). In addition to the traditional basil and Parmesan, this pesto features spinach and feta cheese .
There are no rules as to which beans and legumes are included in menestrón. However, butter beans and broad beans are very common ingredients.
As for the pasta, tradition calls for penne. I recommend using San Remo pulse pasta for a gluten-free, high protein, high fibre alternative.
Menestrón (Peruvian minestrone)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg stew beef, diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 2.5 litres beef stock
- 200g pumpkin, finely chopped
- 200g Savoy or green cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped in small cubes
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped in small cubes
- 200g green beans, chopped
- 2-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 200g cassava (optional), cubed
- 2 corn cobs, cut in pieces
- 1 cup frozen broad beans
- 250g penne (I used pulse pasta)
- 1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 bunch basil
- 50g feta cheese, crumbed
- 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
- Season beef with salt and pepper.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and brown beef.
- Add leek and celery, stir and cook for a minute or so. Add stock, lower temperature, cover and cook for 45-50 minutes.
- While the beef cooks, make the pesto (see below).
- Add pumpkin and cabbage, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add turnip, green beans and carrot, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add potato (and cassava, if using), cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add corn, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add broad beans, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add pasta, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add canned beans, cook for another couple of minutes, uncovered. Check seasoning and serve.
- Heat olive oil in a pan at low temperature, add onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 10-15 minutes.
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Season to taste.