Playing Minestrone Soup with Escarole, Beans and Pasta
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into fine dice
  • 2 small or 1 medium zucchini, seeded and cut into small dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 bulb fennel, quartered, cored and chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
  • 1 large leek, quartered and sliced 1/4- to ½-inch thick
  • Herb bundle of parsley, sage and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups cooked* or canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large head escarole, shredded or chopped into half-inch pieces
  • 1 quart each chicken stock and beef stock
  • 1 chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • 1/2 pound ditalini pasta, cooked to al dente then drained and dressed w a little oil to keep them from sticking
  • To serve: grated cheese, fancy EVOO and minced white raw onion
Preparation

*To cook your own beans, soak 1 cup white beans overnight, rinse and boil in salted water with bay and onion until tender, skimming water when necessary. Drain before using.

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Add pancetta and stir 2-3 minutes to render fat. Add vegetables and herb bundle, season with salt and pepper, and soften, partially covered, 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, escarole, both stocks and the cheese rind, bring to boil then simmer at least 30 minutes to combine flavors.


To serve, place some cooked pasta in bowls, ladle soup over and stir. Serve with cheese, EVOO and minced raw white onion at the table for mixing in.