My Mother-in- Law, Anne Cocozza, was born in a small village outside of Naples called Pomigliano d’Arco 102 years ago (She is still alive.) Throughout my marriage, she was the prime source of information on everything Italian as prior to World War II, she was back and forth on several occasions. Her expertise was never challenged when it came to declaring something really Italian especially food.
She basically got out of cooking Italian because her husband was a meat and potatoes man and her mother could cook as could her sister-in-law who I called Aunt Adel. When I joined the family, with my huge appetite, everybody got into competitive feeding of me. I got married at 165 and about a year later was over 200. Anne liked to cook stews but the only two soups I could remember were Pasta e Fagioli and Minestrone. The former is truly a ritual with fairly fixed ingredients and no meat or stock whatsoever. I mean every time I ate it my hunger reflex kicked in and I’d want to know what’s for dinner.
Now minestrone was my type of soup. It had no fixed recipe but was a hearty soup with almost any combination of vegetables with pasta or rice added to the pot. It was sort of a clean out the refrigerator meal using leftovers and what might go bad. It can be made vegetarian, with stock or with meat. In my case I had leftover fish and decided why not try it.
The ingredients that I used were
left over broth from the Italian Vegetable Soup (I ate all the firm vegetables.)
½ can red kidney beans already open
½ can diced tomatoes already open
10 oz can white beans
½ small onion diced
1 carrot coined
thin slice scotch bonnet pepper
pasta left over (Gemelli)
5 oz white fish cooked in lemon butter sauce
I combined everything in the coffeepot except the pasta and fish and cooked it from morning. Since I was able to get home about 3 pm and everything in the pot was already cooked, I put the pasta and fish in the coffee pot and headed back to work. When I got home I ate the bowl shown above and brought the leftovers to work the next day. It was a good hearty soup. I didn’t add any spinach or zucchini because I didn’t have any but my Mother-in- Law usually did.