We had a little glitch in our Sunday Slow Soupers schedule for this week - there was no one to pick a soup. So, Shannon stepped in and suggested a minestrone soup that had just appeared in Gourmet Magazine.
Winter Minestrone - Gourmet Magazine - January 2009
Makes 8 Servings
* Active Time:45 min
* Start to Finish:2 hr
Patience is the key to this soul-satisfying soup chock-full of winter greens. Its depth of flavor comes from cooking the soffritto—a mixture of pancetta, onion, celery, carrots, and the ribs from the chard—for a good 45 minutes and from browning the tomato paste. The result is so savory that there’s no need for broth; water, canned tomatoes, and a parmesan rind work beautifully. And because this soup must cook slowly, don’t worry about prepping all your vegetables before you begin—you can simply chop as you go.
* 1/3 lb sliced pancetta, chopped
* 3 medium red onions, chopped
* 4 celery ribs, chopped
* 2 medium carrots, chopped
* 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 bunch Swiss chard
* 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
* 1 qt hot water (This is a typo - should be 3 qt - See below)
* 5 cups coarsely chopped cored Savoy cabbage (6 oz)
* 5 cups coarsely chopped escarole (1/2 lb)
* 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (about 3 by 1 1/2 inches)
* 1 (19-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling; cooked ditalini pasta tossed with oil (optional); grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook pancetta, onions, celery, and carrots in oil in a wide 7- to 9-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, while preparing chard.
Cut out stems from chard and chop stems, reserving leaves. Stir chard stems into pancetta mixture with garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and begin to stick to bottom of pot, about 45 minutes total. (Set aside chard leaves.)
Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Stir paste into vegetables and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. (Paste may stick to pot, but don’t let it burn.)
Stir in tomatoes with their juice, breaking them up with a spoon, then add hot water (3 qt), scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot.
Bring to a simmer. Stir in cabbage, escarole, and parmesan rind. Simmer, covered, until greens are tender, about 40 minutes.
Coarsely chop chard leaves and stir into soup along with beans. Simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Discard rind. Season soup with salt and pepper. If using ditalini, stir in just before serving.
* Soup, without pasta, can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.
Several of us realized that there was a typo in the recipe - The ingredients show 1 qt of hot water, while the instructions say 3 qts. I have made a note that it should be 3 qts.
That being said, I only used 2 qts of hot water. I was planning on leaving out the optional pasta (I thought I had some cute little ones to use, and I didn't), so I thought it might be thicker if I cut down on the liquid.
Here are all of the ingredients:
And the veggies are cooking - aren't they colorful:
The finished soup was yummy:
We had it with some crusty bread and a salad from our garden. Yes, that's right - Bill has all kinds of lettuce growing right now!
This recipe made a LOT! I don't have enough room in my freezer to keep all of it, so my neighbors will the lucky recipients tomorrow morning! Great recipe though. Thanks, Shannon!