Recipe by kiwidutch
This is an excellent minestrone recipe on a cold winter evening. The soup is rich, smoky-tasting and is good with warmed corn tortillas or corn bread. Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are savory and hold their shape during the long, slow cooking needed for a soup such as this one. Black beans should not be confused with the salty, fermented black soybeans used in Chinese black bean sauce. For deep, rich color, do not presoak the beans for this recipe. COOKS NOTES: Borlotti, cranberry and black beans are available in dried and canned form from larger supermarkets, natural food stores, specialty food shops and on line distributors. The Italian borlotti bean's creamy texture and mellow flavor are delicious in sturdy soups such as this one. The cranberry bean is sometimes marketed as borlotti but is also popular in its own right. As a rule of thumb, 1 cup of dried beans (soaked overnight in water to cover and drained) cooked in 3 cups water yields approximately 2½ cups of cooked beans. You can substitute cooked red, white or kidney beans.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, cut lengthwise into quarters, then thinly sliced
- 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
- 2 cups cooked borlotti beans or 2 cups cranberry beans
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 red bell peppers or 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 (30 ounce) can tomato puree
- 3 1⁄2 cups beef broth (two 14 1/2-ounce cans)
- 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
- 1⁄4 cup Italian pastina (very small pasta for soup)
- 4 cups coarsely shredded fresh spinach or 4 cups swiss chard leaves
- salt (optional)
- grated parmesan cheese
Directions See How It's Made
- In 5- to 6-quart pot, heat oil over medium heat. Remove and discard sausage casings; crumble sausage into pot; cook until lightly browned, stirring often. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring often, until onion is soft. Drain and discard any fat from sausage.
- Add beans, garlic, bell pepper, parsley, herbs, tomatoes (coarsely chopped) and their liquid, and broth. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer gently 30 minutes.
- Stir in wine and pasta and simmer gently, uncovered, until pasta is tender (10 to 12 minutes). Add spinach or Swiss chard, stirring just until it is wilted. Taste; add salt if needed.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over each serving to taste. Makes.