Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC
Minestrone alla Fiorentina
Minestrone means “big soup” and this one isn’t kidding! This variation contains classic minestrone mix of beans, vegetable, and greens with a uniquely Florentine twist ~ the inclusion of pumpkin, leeks and peas. The squash melts into the broth to create a luscious velvety texture with a hint of chestnutty sweetness. It is perfection! This minestrone is a beautiful and satisfying autumn and winter dish. Enjoy it over a few days or freeze for another meal.
Prep time 1 hour Cooking time 1 hour Serves 8-10
1 pound dried cannellini, tarbais or other white bean, soaked overnight, or 2 cans of no-sodium cannellini, rinsed and drained
3 cloves garlic with sprigs of fresh rosemary, sage, and/or bay leaves
1 quart water
1 medium-large red onion, medium dice
2 medium carrots, medium dice
2 stalks celery, medium dice
2 leeks, cleaned well, ¼” slices
2 zucchini (or yellow squash or a mix), medium dice
1 small red kuri, calabaza or kabocha squash, unpeeled, seeded, cut into 1 1/4 inch cubes
2 russet potatoes, medium dice
4-5 tablespoons tomato paste or ¾ 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 ½- 2 quarts unsalted vegetable broth or water
1 large bunch lacinato kale, cut chiffonade in ½ inch ribbons
1 large bunch Swiss chard, cut chiffonade in ½ inch ribbons
1/2 small savoy cabbage, cut chiffonade in ½ inch ribbons
2 cups frozen green peas
Black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
Aka miso to taste
Rinse beans and soak for 8 hours in cool water. Discard soaking water and cook beans in 1quart fresh water. Add garlic and herbs. Simmer on low to gently cook beans until tender but intact, between 30-60 minutes, depending on beans' freshness.
Heat a very large soup pot for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, lower the heat, cover, and sweat the aromatics for several minutes. Remove the cover and add the leeks, with a bit of water if the vegetables are adhering to the pan.
After 5 minutes add the tomatoes: If using paste, dissolve it first in a bit of water prior to adding. If using whole tomatoes, add 2/3s of it now, with the juice, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.
After 2 minutes add the potatoes and kale. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the beans and cooking water, discarding the sage. If using canned beans instead, add a quart of the broth and then gently stir in beans.
Add the squashes now and the cabbage and after a few minutes, the chard. Add sufficient broth to cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Hint! In this soup tomatoes are just another voice in the choir and should not be dominant. Once the greens are added and have cooked down, the soup broth should be orange, not red. If it is greenish, add more tomato.
Begin testing for doneness: Cook until all veggies are tender but intact. Add more broth if needed to cover the vegetables. Add the peas. Season with pepper. Cook for a final few minutes.
This soup feeds a big crowd but in case you don’t serve it all at once, only add miso to the amount to be served now. Dissolve it in a cup of the soup broth, and add to taste, stirring it well in the hot soup.
This soup is a meal in itself, served with a big salad and crusty whole grain bread.
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