Rich Minestrone (The Frugal Gourmet)

This is a great, hearty soup, and not a character in The Godfather (I can make that joke, I’m Italian). The Frugal Gourmet complimented this recipe with one of his favorite phrases, “This is peasant food!” You see, out of necessity, peasants used all kinds of simple and cheap ingredients, to make nourishing food for a life of hard work.

Note: The Frug(al Gourmet) suggests you “squash” the tomatoes.He means you should take each peeled tomato in your clean hands, and holding it over the pot, squash the juice and seeds out of it, squeezing the flesh thru your fingers. The man loved doing this!

1 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 pound Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ pound salt pork, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
leaves of 1 bunch celery, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 can (16 ounce) Italian peeled tomatoes, squashed
1 quart chicken stock
1 carrot, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
a pinch of dried basil
1 potato, diced
1 zucchini, chopped
chopped kale
chopped cabbage
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup grated cheese

Place 2 quarts water in a large soup pot. Add soaked, drained beans and bring to a boil, placing the sausage on top. When sausage is cooked, remove, cool, and slice it. Cook beans until soft, then purée. Sauté salt pork, onion, garlic, celery leaves, and parsley; add  to beans and simmer for ½ hour. Add tomatoes, stock, carrot, and celery stalks, basil, and diced potato; simmer 15 min. Add zucchini, kale, and cabbage; cook 8 – 9 min. longer. Add wine, salt and pepper, sliced sausage, and the grated cheese.


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