This week we made a wonderful, heartly and delicious minestrone from the January 2009 Gourmet magazine.
Here’s the recipe:
1/3 pound sliced pancetta, chopped
3 medium red onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch Swiss chard
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
3 quart hot water
5 cups coarsely chopped cored Savoy cabbage (6 ounces) (I used regular green cabbage)
5 cups coarsely chopped escarole (1/2 pound)
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (about 3 by 1 1/2 inches)
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Accompaniments: extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling; cooked ditalini pasta tossed with oil (optional); grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook pancetta, onions, celery, and carrots in oil in a wide 7-to 9-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, while preparing chard.
Cut out stems from chard and chop stems, reserving leaves. Stir chard stems into pancetta mixture with garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and begin to stick to bottom of pot, about 45 minutes total. (Set aside chard leaves.)
Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir paste into vegetables and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. (Paste may stick to pot, but don’t let it burn.)
Stir in tomatoes with their juice, breaking them up with a spoon, then add hot water (3 quarts), scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot.
Bring to a simmer. Stir in cabbage, escarole, and parmesan rind. Simmer, covered, until greens are tender, about 40 minutes.
Coarsely chop chard leaves and stir into soup along with beans. Simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Discard rind. Season soup with salt and pepper. If using ditalini, stir in just before serving.
Cooks’ notes:
Soup, without pasta, can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.
This recipe took a long time because you have to cook the sofrito for 45 minutes. Mine got a little watery–maybe the onions gave off some water, but it was so worth the time and trouble.
It says it serves 8 but I think it’s more like 12. We have a ton of soup!
This picture is from right after I put the chard into the soup, towards the end of cooking. The colors, at that point, were so bright I just had to take the picture. I din’t find ditalini but I did get these wonderful tiny bowties, called farfelline (little butterflies). They were so cute.


slow soupers–Winter Minestrone — 1 Comment