Melis Family Minestrone

From the kitchen of The Blue Zones Solution.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried peeled fava beans
  • ½ cup dried cranberry beans
  • 1/3 cup dried chickpeas
  • 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes ( about 3 ½ cups)
  • 3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped fennel
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup of Sardinian fregula, isreal couscous, or acini si pepe pasta
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup finely grated pecorino Romano (about 2 ounces)

Instructions

  1. Soak fava beans, cranberry beans, and chickpeas in a large bowl of water for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours (that is, overnight). Drain in a colander set in the sink, Rinse well.
  2. Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium-heat, Add the onion, carrots, and celery; cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, parsley,and basil, as well as the drained beans and chickpeas. Add enough water (6 to 8 cups) so that everything is submerged by 1 inch.
  4. Raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly, uncovered, until beans are tender, adding more water as necessary if mixture gets too thick, about 1 ½ hours.
  5. Stir in the pasta, salt, and pepper, Add up to 2 cups of water if the soup seems too dry. Continue simmering, uncovered, until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each of four serving bowls. Divide the soup among them and top each with 1 tablespoon grated cheese.
  7. TIP: You can vary the beans in the minestrone: pinto beans make a very good substitute for the cranberry beans; great northern beans or cannellini beans, for the favas.
  8. TIP: Use the stalks and fronds that come off the fennel bulb for the most intense flavor. No feathery fronds on the bulb? Add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to the aromatic vegetables you saute to begin the dish.
  9. TIP: Add other fresh vegetables from garden or market, such as zucchini, cabbage, green beans, and cauliflower or broccoli florets.
  10. TIP: Want a stronger tomato taste? Stir in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.

Published by mephit on