Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC
Minestrone alla Fiorentina
Serves 8-10 Prep time 1 hour Cooking time 1 hour
Minestrone means “big soup” and this one's not joking around! This minestrone contains classic minestrone mix of beans and greens with a uniquely Florentine twist ~ the inclusion of pumpkin (I love kabocha best!), leeks and peas. The squash melts into the broth to create a luscious velvety texture with the hint of chestnut sweetness. Perfection!
1 pound dried cannellini 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 red onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
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 kabocha squash, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes (no need to peel), or your favorite winter squash
2 russet potatoes, medium dice, submersed in water to prevent browning
3-4 Tablespoons tomato paste or ½ large can good quality San Marzano whole tomatoes
2 quarts unsalted veggie broth
1 bunch lacinato kale, cut chiffonade (½” ribbons)
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut chiffonade
¼ savoy cabbage, cut chiffonade
2 cups frozen green peas
½ freshly ground black pepper or to taste
Sea salt to taste (optional)
Rinse beans and soak for 8 hours in cool water. Discard soaking water and cook beans in 1 quart fresh water. Add garlic and herbs, tied in cheesecloth. Simmer on very low flame to gently steep beans until tender but intact, around 1 hour, depending on beans' freshness. Set aside.
In a large pot dry sauté onions and carrots over medium flame, stirring. As they lightly brown & begin to adhere to the pot, deglaze with a minimal amount of broth. Add celery, leeks and garlic. After 5 minutes drain and add potatoes, squash, zucchini and kale. Cook for 5 minutes.
Dissolve the paste in a little water or if using whole tomatoes and juice, break them up roughly with a spoon or potato masher. Add two-thirds of the tomatoes to the pot. HINT! In this soup tomatoes are just another voice in the choir and should not be dominant. Add only enough paste or whole tomatoes to balance color and flavor of the greens. We're looking for a warm orange color, not red.
Add the beans and their cooking water, discarding the bouquet garni and whole garlic cloves. Thin out with some of the broth to a dense but soupy consistency.
If using canned beans instead, add broth and then gently stir in beans. Add chard and cabbage. Cook another 10 minutes and begin tasting for doneness, i.e. all veggies should be tender but intact. Add peas. Add more broth and tomatoes, if needed. Season to taste. Cook for a final two minutes.
Serve piping hot along with big salad and a crusty piece of whole grain bread.
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