Pug’s Minest’ (Minestrone)

I’ve been thinking about my Dad lately, Frank Pugliese, aka “Pug”.  I was remembering how his group of friends from the Sharpsburg Senior Citizen Highrise played poker every Friday night.  He was the organizer which also entailed providing the food for the night.  And boy, was that right up his alley!  He would go to Shop N’ Save and purchase every day old pastry he could get his hands on at half price.  The guys  loved this, you know how ‘seniors’ are about spending unnecessary money!

The group was made up of the most eclectic characters.  One of the fellows, Pierre, was blind.  How he was able to play cards, I’ll never know!  When I questioned my dad about this once, he said, “Oh, whoever is sitting next to him helps him out, no problem.”  Yeah, I bet!  I’m sure Pierre never went home a winner.

My Dad liked to cook, was pretty good at it, too.  He occasionally made hot sausage sandwiches or homemade pizza or pepperoni bread for these poker nights.  One of his specialties was his Minest’ (Italian dialect for Minestrone soup).  He once was featured in the local newspaper for preparing this soup for the poker gang.  He was quite proud of that, so was I.   Here is his recipe.   All of these recipes can be found in my cookbook, Always on Sunday: Recipes from an Italian Childhood”.  http://www.alwaysonsunday.com

Pug’s Minest’

1 large bunch          fresh spinach leaves or escarole

2 quarts                     chicken stock

1 pound                    sweet or hot Italian sausage, sliced

1 large                       onion, chopped

1 green pepper      chopped

2                                 whole garlic cloves

1 large can              crushed tomatoes

1 can (15 oz)          red kidney beans

1/2 tsp                     dried oregano

1/2 tsp                     red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse and trim and cut off stems of spinach or escarole, cut in strips.  Place in large stock pot with chicken broth and cook till wilted.  Meanwhile in skillet, brown sausage, onion, pepper and garlic till cooked through and vegetables are soft.  Add to the stockpot containing the spinach, along with the tomatoes, the beans and seasonings.  Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.  Add water to thin, if needed.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese.


Published in: on April+00:00bMon, 04 Apr 2011 23:08:01 +0000000000Mon, 04 Apr 2011 23:08:01 +0000pmMon, 04 Apr 2011 23:08:01 +000011 9, 2008 at 2:20 p04  Comments (1)  
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