This simple recipe for delicious minestrone soup was adapted from the September 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living.
For the Beans
- 3/4 cup dried cannellini beans (5 ounces)
- 1/2 large onion
- 1 bay leaf
For the Soffritto
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large rib celery, 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 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large ribs celery, 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), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 4 ounces green beans, trimmed, 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 (also called cavolo nero), 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 (3 inches) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Martha's Pesto
Make beans: Cover beans with cold water by 2 inches in a bowl. Refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. Drain. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in 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 stockpot over medium-low heat. Add celery, carrot, and onion. Cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Make 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, and red-pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover; simmer 1 hour.
Add beans. Cover; cook until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve topped with pesto if desired. Minestrone can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days; thin with water if needed before reheating.