This delicious and hearty soup comes from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, and it is definitely a keeper. I like that it has a lot of vegetables in it, but it gets a boost of flavour from the pancetta (use bacon as a substitute if you don’t have pancetta) and the Parmesan rind. I throw the rinds into the freezer when I have them so I can put them in soups and sauces. If you don’t have one, just add a little extra Parmesan in at the end.
What you need:
- 3 oz pancetta, cut into small pieces
- olive oil
- 2 celery ribs
- 1 carrot
- 1 large onion
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 small head green cabbage (I used Napa)
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 small hot pepper
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)
- 1 Parmesan cheese rind
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 & 1/2 cups V8 juice
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- grated Parmesan cheese
What you do:
- Chop the celery, carrot, onions and zucchini into 2cm pieces.
- Heat a little olive oil in a very large pot oven medium heat, then add the pancetta. Cook until it is lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring often, for 5-9 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cabbage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper flakes and cook for a minute or two, or until the cabbage begins to wilt. Place the vegetables on a baking tray and set aside.
- Add the beans, water, broth, Parmesan rind and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and V8 juice to the pot and cook about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
- Discard the bay leaf and Parmesan rind. Stir in the basil and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with olive oil and Grated Parmesan cheese.