Look for the smallest, most tender vegetables available. Other vegetables can be substituted to suit your taste or the season. Large pattypan squashes make beautiful soup bowls for the minestrone.
Martha Stewart Living, July/August 1997
- 1/2 cup dried flageolets, rinsed and picked over; discard cracked ones
- 2 medium onions
- 1 head garlic, cut in half
- One 3/4-ounce bunch marjoram
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling (optional)
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
- 1/2 large, or 1 small, bulb fennel, thinly sliced and chopped
- 3 thin carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick circles
- 1 1/2 quarts <u>Homemade Chicken Stock</u>, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato, or any other starchy cooking potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and coarsely chopped
- 1 ear corn, kernels removed
- 1 to 2 young small zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/3-inch-thick quarter moons
- 1/4 pound mixed fresh green beans, such as wax beans, string beans, and haricots verts, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
- <u>Basil Puree</u>, optional
- Place flageolets in large saucepan; cover with 2 inches cold water. Slice 1 onion in half; add to pot. Add garlic head. Reserve 2 tablespoons marjoram leaves. Make cheesecloth sachet with remaining marjoram, bay leaf, and peppercorns, add to pot, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt 10 minutes before beans finish cooking. Remove from heat, and let stand in liquid to cool. Drain beans, reserve 1 cup liquid, and discard onion, garlic, and marjoram.
- On each pattypan squash, trace circle 2 inches around outside of core. Cut on diagonal to remove core in cone-shaped piece. Scoop squash with melon baller, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until needed.
- Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat. Coarsely chop remaining onion; add to soup pot with garlic clove. Cook until translucent, 8 minutes. Add reserved marjoram leaves, fennel, and carrots; cook, stirring, until just soft, about 15 minutes. Add stock and reserved cup bean liquid. Add potatoes and tomatoes; simmer 10 minutes. Add flageolets and corn; simmer until potatoes are tender and liquid is slightly stewy, about 5 minutes.
- Raise heat to high. Stir in zucchini and beans. Cook about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Set pot in a bowl of ice water; stir, occasionally, until cold. Remove from ice; adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Ladle into squash or bowls; add spoonful basil puree, or drizzle of oil, to each serving.
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