|Photo c/o CBC|
While I had some time off I got pretty hooked on watching the Food Network, and managed to collect quite a few recipes that I really want to try, and this one by chef Stefano Faita is the first one on my list. On his show Faita shared his mother’s old family recipe for Minestrone Soup; with pancetta and parmesean cheese it isn’t hard to tell that Faita had a hearty Italian up bringing. The pureed beans are used to thicken the broth, and the vegetables help to make this soup dense, and hearty; making this the perfect soup for brisk fall days.
**A little tip I learned while watching another cooking show is that it’s easier to cut pancetta when it’s slightly frozen, so toss it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour before you cut into it.
** Also if you are wondering what to do with your extra kale, simply remove the leaves from the stems and toss with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and cayenne pepper. Lay (single layer) the tossed kale on a baking sheet to make kale chips. Make sure they aren’t touching each other, so that they get super crispy.
3 (14 ounce) cans white beans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 head kale, chopped
1/2 white cabbage, chopped
3 leeks, sliced
3 zucchini, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Piece of Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
7 to 8 cups chicken stock
Handful basil, chopped
Handful Italian parsley, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Crusty bread, for serving
Mash half the beans and leave the remaining half whole. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté pancetta, garlic, onion, celery, carrot and rosemary for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add tomatoes, kale, cabbage, leeks, zucchini, and beans (whole and mashed), bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Season the soup with salt and pepper. For extra flavour, add piece of Parmesan rind, if desired. Add 7 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. (If you prefer a thinner soup, add 1 cup more chicken stock.)
Reduce heat and let soup simmer, uncovered, until the minestrone has a dense, stew-like texture, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. According to Stefano’s mom, you know when this soup is done when a spoon can stand in the centre of the soup.
Finish the soup with basil and parsley. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Happy Harvest Blog Readers,