Hearty Minestrone


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:

  1. Chop the celery, carrot, onions and zucchini into 2cm pieces.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the vegetables and V8 juice to the pot and cook about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Discard the bay leaf and Parmesan rind. Stir in the basil and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with olive oil and Grated Parmesan cheese.

Cannellini Beans and Kale

cannellini beans and kale - trust in kim

I tried out this new recipe to deal with the overabundance of kale that is growing in my garden.  It makes a great meal or side dish with a salad, and would be great served with  sausage.  I crumbled a little bacon on top, but it is great without it as well.  There’s a surprising amount of flavour in here for and beans and greens recipe.

This isn’t a difficult recipe, but it does require soaking the beans a day ahead, then cooking them for up to two hours.  After that it’s quick to get it ready.

The source for this recipe is Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse.

What you need:

2 cups dry cannellini beans

1 stalk celery

a few sprigs of thyme

a few sprigs of parsley

2 bay leaves

1 onion

1 carrot

6 cups water or more

1 bunch kale (or spinach or mustard greens), spines removed, chopped roughly

6 cloves garlic finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil (the original recipe calls for 5-6 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves

salt and pepper

What you do:

1. Soak the beans overnight, then drain them.  Put them in a pot with the celery, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, onion and carrot and over with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1-2 hours, until the beans are very soft.  Salt the beans once they begin to get soft.  Remove them from the heat when they are very soft.  Drain the liquid, reserving some of it to add back later.  Remove the vegetables and herbs.

2.  Add a little olive oil to a large frying pan on medium heat and add the garlic and rosemary; saute for about one minute.  Add the beans and about a cup of the liquid and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook until it is wilted and becomes tender.  Add a little more liquid if it starts to get dry.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle with a little olive oil as you serve it up hot.  Enjoy!