Overgrown pattypans are carved into containers for this chilled soup, which features four kinds of beans and a dozen young vegetables and herbs, picked right before dinner and cooked just until tender.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

Cook's Notes

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.

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