Friday, September 23, 2011

Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup

I have been making this recipe for years and it is the best I have ever eaten. There is some work involved, but if you double the recipe, you can store a few quarts in the freezer. If you don't want to go through all the work of soaking and cooking dried beans, use canned. They are just as good. Can't find cranberry beans? Substitute kidney beans or any other canned red beans.

Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup

2 cups dried cannellini beans
1 cup dried cranberry beans
10 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 pound pancetta, sliced and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2½ cups chopped ripe tomato
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
½ cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
11/2 cups diced zucchini
1 pound kale (remove the stems and chop
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Place the cannellini beans and the cranberry beans in separate bowls. Cover each with at least 2 inches of cold water
and allow to soak overnight.
Drain the cannellini beans and place in a small pot along with 5 cups of the Chicken Stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 1 hour until the beans are tender. Strain the liquid into an 8- to 10-quart pot and puree the cannellini beans. You will have to use some of the liquid to puree the beans smooth. Drain the soaked cranberry beans and add to the pot along with the pureed cannellini.
Heat a large frying pan and add the pancetta. Brown the pancetta until almost crisp and discard the fat. Add the pan cetta to the pot. Heat the frying pan again and add the oil, garlic, carrots, onions, and celery. Sauté until tender and add to the pot.
Add the tomato, potatoes, red wine, parsley, marjoram, and the remaining 5 cups of Chicken Stock. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hour, stirring often. Add the zucchini, kale, and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Simmer gently 30 minutes more or until the soup is nice and thick. Stir the soup often to prevent scorching. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil and grated cheese.

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