Minestrone is one of my favorite soups to make. It takes a lot of time to produce a good pot of this classic, Italian soup, so set aside the entire afternoon and make sure you soak the beans the night before. The final result is a hearty, rustic, restaurant-quality dish. A bowl is a meal in itself, all you need is some crusty bread for dipping. Serve with a robust Pinot Noir for a wonderful, wintry meal. To see how I made it, read more.
From Martha Stewart
For the beans:
3/4 cup dried cannellini beans
1/2 large onion
1 bay leaf
For the soffritto:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large celery stalk, very finely chopped
1 medium carrot, very finely chopped
1 large onion, very finely chopped
For the soup:
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1/4 inch slices, rinsed well
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium carrots, cut on the diagonal, into 1/4 inch slices
6 ounces small red potatoes (about 7), ct into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 ounces green beans, timmed, cut on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice, crushed
1 bunch (5 ounces) Tuscan kale, stemmed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 head savoy cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cups vegetable stock
1 rind Parmesan cheese
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper
- Make the beans: cover the beans with cold water by 2 inches in a bowl. Refrigerate 8-12 hours. Drain. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add beans, onion, and bay leaf. Reduce heat; simmer until beans are just tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving beans and 4 cups liquid. Discard solids from beans, and cover beans.
- Make soffritto: heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add celery, carrots, and onion. Cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Make the soup: add leek and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Raise heat to medium-high; add celery, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and green beans. Cook, stirring often, until golden about 5 minutes.
- Stir in reserved bean liquid, the tomatoes, and juice, kale, cabbage, stock, cheese rind, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1 hour.
- Add beans. Cover and cook until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Make ahead: soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; thin with water if needed before reheating.