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Minestra Ingredients Directions Makes 8 servings This is a classic minestrone recipe. Classic minestrone always contains Swiss chard and red kidney beans. The other ingredients are optional, and are a matter of personal taste or choice. Zucchine, summer squash, broccoli, and cauliflower, just to name a few, work well in this recipe. I learned to love greens as a child. When school was out during the summer, I spent two weeks with my grandparents in the country. My grandmother was a former professional cook, and my grandfather always raised a large garden. There was always vegetables galore to choose from. Kale was my favorite. Kale and Swiss chard are in the same family of greens so when I saw a recipe with Swiss chard in it, I immediately decided to make it. I also kept the kidney beans from the recipe that I had, but the other ingredients are my own personal choices. This soup has a rich taste that will delight your palate. Make some and enjoy.
- 1⁄4 lb pork fat, chopped
- 2 lbs boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped (about 1 1/ 2 pounds)
- 3⁄4 lb swiss chard leaf, no white part,chopped
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 cups water
- 2 cans red kidney beans (drained and well rinsed)
- 1 ham hock, split longways into four equal pieces (about 1/ 2 pound)
- 1 large tomato, peeled,seeded and chopped (about 10 ounces)
- 1⁄4 lb elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- In a large casserole or soup pot, cook the pork fat over medium-high heat until there is some fat in the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Then add the potatoes, cabbage, chard, onion, and garlic until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, add the beans, ham or smoked bacon, and tomato, and cook until the beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours.
- Add the elbow macaroni and continue to cook until a spoon can stand straight up in the center of the soup, and the pasta is tender--about 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.