361. Barrington Family Recipes: Nana’s Minestrone Soup

Home Newsroom 361. Barrington Family Recipes: Nana’s Minestrone Soup

We have one more reader-submitted recipe to share for our Barrington Family Recipes contest and we saved this one for last because it’s a reminder of how much we love and miss family members who are no longer here to celebrate Christmas with us.

Paula Voska from one of the two families that own ZaZa’s Tavola Italiana Restaurant in Lake Barrington shared her grandmother “Nana’s” beloved minestrone soup recipe for our contest.  Her grandma’s name was Antoinette Wilkins and she just passed away in July after living in Barrington for over 40 years.  Enjoying Nana’s recipes is one way the Voska family keeps her memory alive.  Here’s a photo of Paula (in green) with her grandma, mom, aunts, sisters and nieces when they celebrated Nana’s 100th birthday.

Paula Voska and family with her grandma on her 100th birthday
Paula Voska (in green) and family with her grandma (with the flower corsage) on her 100th birthday

Paula says Nana’s Minestrone Soup is special.  “Because it fills your heart as well as your stomach and any meal she prepared was made with love.”

Nana's Minestrone Soup - Photographed by Sally Roeckell
Nana’s Minestrone Soup – Photographed by Sally Roeckell

“My grandma took her time as she cooked her meals and never rushed.”

Post 300 - Recipe - Paula Voska - 2
Antoinette Wilkins, a.k.a. Paula Voska’s “Nana”

“She would go to the grocery store a few times a week to pick up only a couple of items each time (whatever was on sale).

When she returned home, we would wash the milk container before placing it in the refrigerator, soak the leeks in water to remove the sand and wash all vegetables, plus re-wrap and label any meat before putting it in the freezer.

Taking time at each step was how she functioned in her kitchen.”

Paula says her grandmother always had a batch of her homemade minestrone soup waiting for family to enjoy during visits.  “I can picture the soup in her refrigerator and the pan she used to use to heat it up – never in the microwave, always on the stove.”

“Raising our own children, my husband and I felt that family dinners were very important. We believed that sitting down for dinner would help our children with their self confidences, learn our family values and be a time for us to teach matters.”

“It was a time to come together and talk about your day while nourishing your body.  Both my husband and I were raised with those same values.”

Nana's Minestrone Soup - Photographed by Sally Roeckell
Nana’s Minestrone Soup – Photographed by Sally Roeckell

“So you asked me, ‘what is the significant of family recipes?’ I would have to say that it is not just the recipes that are important but the time spent preparing and eating a meal together.”

Nana's Minestrone Soup - Photographed by Sally Roeckell
Nana’s Minestrone Soup – Photographed by Sally Roeckell

Nana’s Minestrone Soup recipe is the final entry to be revealed in our Barrington Family Recipes contest.  Now, it’s time to select our winners.  Heinen’s grocery store in Barrington has given us seven generous gift cards ranging from $50 to $250 to give away to seven winners in our contest.  This week, we’ll open in up to a vote at 365Barrington.com and announce our winners by the end of 2013.

Nana's Minestrone Soup - Photographed by Sally Roeckell
Nana’s Minestrone Soup – Photographed by Sally Roeckell

(To view all of the Barrington Family Recipes we’ve shared, CLICK HERE.)

And, without further delay, here is the recipe for Nana’s Minestrone Soup.  Thank you for sharing, Paula.


Nana’s Minestrone Soup


Olive Oil

1 medium Onion, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

Italian seasoning

1 cup Zucchini, chopped

1 cup of Cauliflower, chopped

1 cartoon of Chicken Broth

1 cup of water

1 can of tomatoes or 1 cup of fresh tomatoes

1 cup of Asparagus, chopped

1/2 cup of frozen peas


Always start with a “good” amount of olive oil to coat the bottom.

Add the chopped onions and allow them to soften. Next, add the chopped and peeled carrots, celery and garlic.

“I like to chop everything to be about the same size”. Nana.

Once the onions, carrots and celery have sauteed for a few minutes, add any type of broth you like (low sodium, chicken, vegetable).

Add 2 bay leaves, parsley, Italian seasonings, water, chopped zucchini, cauliflower and one can of diced tomatoes.

Let the soup boil for about an hour and a half, then add asparagus and peas for sweetness.

Allow the asparagus to cook for 10 minutes, then it is ready to serve.

As my grandma would always say, “boil it until the oil comes to the top, that is when you know it is ready” Nana.

My grandma would serve her soup with homemade bread and finely grated Romano cheese. Yum!!

Nana's Minestrone Soup - Photographed by Sally Roeckell
Nana’s Minestrone Soup – Photographed by Sally Roeckell


Sally Roeckell
Sally Roeckell

About the Photographer

When we started receiving our Barrington Family Recipes they sounded so delicious that I realized we had to have photographs for each dish and I immediately knew the perfect person to ask for help.

Take one look at Barrington photographer Sally Roeckell’s food and lifestyle blog at TableAndDish.com or visit her site’s Facebook page and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

From sliced vegetables to a scoop of ice cream to the most elaborate of dishes, Sally Roeckell’s gift for composing images elevates food to an art form with a stunning display highlighting simple ingredients, beautifully presented.

Barrington Family Recipes - Moroccan Chicken

One response to 361. Barrington Family Recipes: Nana’s Minestrone Soup

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Luby Group Listings

126 Waterview Court Lake Barrington, IL 60010
Townhouse For Sale
- Active

BEAUTIFULLY remodeled Augusta unit with the best golf course location in Lake Barrington Shores, enjoy open views of the 12th fairway and water views over large pond! This home has been tastefully updated with so much to mention. Let's start in the k

1 Burning Oak Trail Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Single Family Home For Sale
- Active

Stunning home on 2.6 acre wooded lot with private pond and creek! Gleaming hardwood flooring throughout most of first floor. Gourmet kitchen with center island and adjacent hearth room with cozy fireplace are the hub of every day living. Great room f

113 South Cook Street Barrington, IL 60010
Commercial For Sale
- Active

Retail storefront in prime pedestrian location in downtown Barrington surrounded by Village shopping, restaurants, and steps to the Metra train station. Great opportunity to own a high visibility space, currently vacant, ready for you to move in and

Open House 02/29 at 1PM
462 West Oakwood Drive Barrington, IL 60010
Single Family Home For Sale
- New

Beautiful and serene are words that only begin to describe this stunning brick home in sought-after Timberlake of North Barrington. Stunning views abound through the walls of windows of this tranquil pond, featuring full outdoor amenities just feet f