Friday, January 13, 2012

Labor-Intensive But Worth It Minestrone

Serve with a good artisanal bread.

8 cups of stock
4 roasted tomatoes, chopped
2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 1/8-inch-thick slice prosciutto, about 1/4 pound, optional
1 onion, chopped
2 to 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves roasted garlic (from roasted tomato recipe), recipe follows
1 red chile pepper (Fresno or Holland), finely chopped or thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound small potatoes, chopped or 1 cup small pasta
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
1 (15 to 15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
5 ounces fresh, thin green beans, cut into thirds
1 small head escarole or small bundle chard, shredded
lemon zest
parmesan cheese, shredded, for topping

Preparing the minestrone:
Set aside or prepare the stock and roasted tomatoes.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat, add extra virgin olive oil, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the prosciutto and stir a couple of minutes. Add the chopped onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and chile pepper, season with salt, and pepper. If using potatoes, add them here. If you are using pasta, heat a second medium pot of water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Cool the pasta and drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. Cover and store separately from the soup. Cover the pan and sweat the vegetables 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, prepared stock and prepared tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil and add the green beans. Bring the soup back to bubbling, then turn off the heat and cool the soup before refrigerating.

To reheat the soup: Place the soup over medium-high heat. Crisp the bread in a warm oven. When the soup comes to a boil, stir in the cooked pasta, escarole, and a little lemon zest. Turn off the heat when pasta is warmed through. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and top with cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and crusty bread.

Serves 4


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