Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hunters' Minestrone

From Tyler's Ultimate

Kosher salt
10 C chicken broth
8 garlic cloves, whacked with the side of a large knife, plus 3 cloves chopped
1/4 pound small rigatoni
8 fresh sage leaves
Needles from 1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 medium charrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 lb bulk pork sausage
1 can (28oz) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 cans (28oz each) cannellini beans, drained
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Coarsely ground black pepper

12 baguette slices
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the rigatoni.
Combine the broth and the smashed garlic cloves in a big saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes to give the stock a nice garlicky taste; remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.
Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water for 6 minutes; it should be slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, pour 1/4 cup olive oil into another big saucepan. Add the sage and rosemary and warm the oil over medium heat to infuse it with the flavor of the herbs, 3-4 minutes. Discard teh herbs. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and the chopped garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Dump that out onto a plate. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan, then the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with the side of a big spoon, until well browned. Return the vegetables to the pan along wiht the drained tomatoes adn cook for 5 minutes. Now add the beans, parsley, bay leaf, lemon juice, broth, and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the rigatoni. Discard the bay leaf.
To serve, preheat the broiler. Put the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and brusk with the softened butter. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and float a couple of croutons on top of each serving.

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