Monday, June 12, 2006

Fall Minestrone

From Rachael Ray: 365 No Repeats

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/4 pound pancetta, cut as thick as bacon from the deli counter, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 portobello mushroom caps, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, chopped with greens
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 stems of fresh rosemary
8 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 small bunch of kale or chard, trimmed of tough ends and veins and coarsely chopped (4-5 cups)
1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained
1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes or chunky style crushed tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock or broth
2 C vegetable stock or broth
a piece of rind of Parmigiano cheese (buy a hunk that has a piece of rind attached to it, cut from the outside of the wheel)
1 C ditalini pasta
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to pass at the table
crusty bread

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat and add the EVOO. Add the pancetta and brown for 2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery. Cook 5-6 minutes until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper and add the rosemary stems and the sage to the pot. Add the zucchini and chopped greens and stir them into the pot until all the greens wilt down, 2-3 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, stocks, and cheese rind, then place a lid on the pot and bring the soup to a boil Uncover and add the ditalini pasta. Cook the soup for 7-8 minutes at a rolling simmer, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente, with a bite to it. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the rind and the now bare rosemary stems. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top with grated cheese. Pass the crusty bread at the table.

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