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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stefano Faita's Mom's Minestrone

In anticipation of being hunkered down from Hurricane Sandy (when was the last time a hurricane affected SW Ontario? Hm? Anyone?) I made a huge pot of this soup. It's on Stefano's show. Just tune in any time.
What? You don't get Stefano where you live?
Anyway, here it is, copied and pasted from Stefano's website.

Hearty and filling, Stefano's secret family recipe for minestrone soup is sure to be a hit with the kids and the leftovers make a delicious packed lunch too.
Pack this hearty vegetable soup for lunch and you'll have enough energy to plow through any busy work day!

3 (14 ounce) cans white beans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 head kale, chopped
1/2 white cabbage, chopped
3 leeks, sliced
3 zucchini, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Piece of Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
7 to 8 cups chicken stock
Handful basil, chopped
Handful Italian parsley, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Crusty bread, for serving

Mash half the beans and leave the remaining half whole. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté pancetta, garlic, onion, celery, carrot and rosemary for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add tomatoes, kale, cabbage, leeks, zucchini, and beans (whole and mashed), bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Season the soup with salt and pepper. For extra flavour, add piece of Parmesan rind, if desired. Add 7 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. (If you prefer a thinner soup, add 1 cup more chicken stock.) Reduce heat and let soup simmer, uncovered, until the minestrone has a dense, stew-like texture, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. According to my mom, you know when this soup is done when a spoon can stand in the centre of the soup.
Finish the soup with basil and parsley. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
You need to start this soup in a large potaje (Tampa girls - please translate) because the vegetables are so bulky at first. I shredded the cabbage first in my food processor.
Chard works when you can't find kale. You might even prefer it over kale's sharpness.
This soup freezes beautifully!
I hope you enjoy this.

Milo wore his costume yesterady when we did our regular visit at Woodingford.


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