Minestrone Of Modena
- 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans or borlotti beans
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped
- 3 ounces sliced prosciutto, chopped (optional)
- 1 cup minced yellow onions
- 1/2 cup minced celery
- 1/2 cup minced carrots
- 1 generous tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomatoes, drained
- 2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 ounces green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 4 ounces white mushrooms, diced
- 2 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
- 4 ounces asparagus, diced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen petite green peas
- 8 to 10 basil leaves, shredded
- 2 quarts warm water or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Rind from a small piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano, scraped clean (optional)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Sort beans and soak overnight in water to cover.
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add pancetta, prosciutto, onions, celery, carrots, and parsley; cook, stirring until vegetables are lightly golden and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir, about 5 minutes.
Drain and add cannellini beans, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage, asparagus, peas, and basil to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat vegetables well with savory base. Add warm water and Parmigiano rind; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the minestrone has a dense, thick consistency. (If the soup should thicken too much, add a bit more water.) Remove cheese rind, and adjust seasoning.
Turn off heat and let soup stand for about 30 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmigiano.
Serves 8 to 10
Note: Rice or small pasta such as ditalini can be added to the soup during the last minutes of cooking. Add rice 10 minutes before you turn off the heat, pasta 3 to 5 minutes before. The rice or pasta will keep cooking as the soup rests. Adapted from Biba's Taste of Italy. 2001. Biba Caggiano, William Morrow Publishing