Carrabba's -- Minestrone Soup

When I ordered a bowl—and not a cup— of Carrabbas’ minestrone soup, the server warned me that it was a very large portion and I might not want that much. Not heeding her expert advice, I asked for the $7 bowl anyway— and a full pasta entree. After consuming every spoonful of the delicious minestrone, much of that pasta I was too full to eat ended up in a take-out container.

“Minetsra” in Italian means “soup” and “minestrone” means “thick soup.” I have learned that at Carrabba’s, a bowl of their thick soup with bread and maybe a couple of sides is plenty. With an entree, a cup will do.

Their recipe includes 7 vegetables—8 if tomatoes and tomato paste count as 2— and 7 spices. The appetizing cannellini beans, zucchini, celery, carrots, and Swiss chard were deliciously apparent. The flavorsome leeks, onions, cloves, and crushed pepper were subtler.

The broth also had the added flavor of olive oil, a bay leaf, oregano, and the rind of a chunk of Parmesan cheese. Using the rind was the secret to the soup’s distinct charm.

When the server suggested I add some extra Parmesan hand-cranked to the soup delivered in the massive “I-told-you-so” bowl, it was obvious it was best to heed her advice.