Minestrone Soup

Makes 10 cups; serves 8

This simple recipe for delicious minestrone soup was adapted from the September 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living.


For the Beans

  • ¾ cup dried cannellini beans (5 ounces)

  • ½ large onion

  • 1 bay leaf

For the Soffritto

  • 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 ¼-inch slices, rinsed well

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 large ribs celery, cut into ¼-inch slices

  • 2 medium carrots, cut on the diagonal into ¼-inch slices

  • 6 ounces small red potatoes (about 7), cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, cut into ¼-inch slices

  • 4 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

  • 1 can (14 ½ ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice, crushed

  • 1 bunch (5 ounces) Tuscan kale (also called cavolo nero), stemmed, leaves cut crosswise into ½-inch strips

  • ¼ 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

  • teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Martha's Pesto


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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