Prep 8 hrs
Cook 2 hrs
I love Minestrone and have several good recipes in my collection. This, from Cooks Illustrated, is one of the best.
- table salt
- 1⁄2 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (about 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 small onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 small head green cabbage, halved, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1⁄8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 piece parmesan cheese, rind (about 5-inchx2-inch)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1⁄2 cups v 8 juice
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil leaf
- fresh ground black pepper
- grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- Dissolve 1 1/2 tbsp salt in 2 qts. cold water in large bowl. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 3-5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, onions, and zucchini; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 5-9 minutes. Stir in garlic, cabbage, 1/2 tsp salt and red pepper flakes; continue to cook until cabbage starts to wilt, 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer vegetables to rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Add soaked beans, water, broth, Parmesan rind, and bay leaf to now-empty Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are fully tender and liquid begins to thicken, 45-60 minutes.
- Add reserved vegetables and V8 juice to pot; cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and Parmesan rind, stir in chopped basil, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with olive oil and grated Parmesan.
I've made this soup twice, and it really is great. I made a few adjustments to what I had on hand...it tastes even better next day. Instead of cannelini beans, I added 2 cups of cooked black soybeans to lower the carb content, omitted the pancetta to make it vegetarian, used a little more V-8 to use up my bottle, and therefore reduced the water proportionately, and added 2 tsp of Italian mix spice (recipe on Zaar) instead of fresh basil.