Italian comfort food is eaten while “it is cold outside baby” (fa freddo fuori, baby). Given that Italy has many food traditions and cultures, it is rather difficult to generalize. That said, there are three main comfort foods: Zuppa (soup) is of course very common and the most popular ones are vegetable soups like minestrone, zuppa di fagioli, zuppa di ceci. Then there are beverages: Cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) which is always very, very thick. Caffelatte (coffe and milk) is another common beverage, and some would add miele (honey) into it. Minestrone (literally big soup) recipes vary a lot, actually it should be made with whatever vegetables are in season. Below you can find a basic version:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Stock cubes (unless you have actual broth)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1/3 pound green beans
- Salt and pepper
- 4 fresh tomatoes
- 1/3 pound of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Heat olive oil in a large pot and add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds and then add celery, carrot, and tomatoes. Cook and stir until they begin to soften then add the beans, basil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for 5-10 mins.
Add water and stock cubes and reduce the heat to medium and let it cook for 8-10 minutes and keep stirring. At this point, if you like you can add any type of pasta and cook until pasta is ready.