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Comfort Food Part II:  Minestrone

October 4, 2020
Comfort Food Part II:  Minestrone We’re into week four of quarantine. Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, and our spirits were lifted. Today is cold and grey again. This makes it the perfect time for the next installment of comfort food. It is late afternoon. I am at the stove in view of the glowing fireplace. Family members hang around working on their own rainy-day projects. There are so many times now when I feel anxiety about the health and economic well-being of my family, our employees at Bosca, and our partners around the globe. Times like today give me a sense of security and safety. We designed our house with days like this in mind. We hope wherever you are that you and those that you love are safe and well. Minestrone is a magically satisfying soup and it is super-healthy. Making this soup will fill your home with heavenly smells, and eating it will feed your soul. Minestrone is a general term, so you can find many variations, some more “correct” than others. Strictly speaking (and Italians do speak strictly) neither pasta nor rice are used in minestrone. Potatoes can be but are not commonly used. Our recipe is based loosely on one from Trattoria by Biba Gaggiano- one of our top go-to books.  

Ingredients: ½ lb. dry cannellini or other white beans; soak for about 8 hours.

3 quarts water

Olive oil to cover bottom of sauce pan (about 1/4 cup)

¼ lb. pancetta chopped into small pieces

1-2 fresh garlic cloves-chopped finely or pressed

1 onion minced chopped finely.

4 carrots chopped very fine- or chop some finely with a knife and chop one in a food processor.

1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped

2 tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped coarsely, or 2 tsp dry and crumbled.

1 lb. Swiss Chard

4 cups good canned tomatoes with the juice

  Drain the soaking beans, rinse them, and put them in a large pot with the water. Cover and bring to a boil for 30-40 minutes. The beans should be tender but still just a bit al dente. Puree half of the beans and add them back to the pot. In a separate pot cook the over medium heat pancetta 2-3 minutes then add the olive oil, onion, carrot, garlic, and rosemary. Stir while cooking over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the onions are soft and beginning to clear. Figure 2 Chop some carrot by hand and do some in a food processor. Add the chard and cook another 4-5minutes at a bit lower heat. Keep stirring. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring for another 10 minutes. Season this mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the sauce and the beans. Simmer for at least another 15 minutes. In warmed bowls, place a piece of thick-cut grilled or toasted bread. Ladle the soup over the break and add a little olive oil over the top. You may also add a sprinkle of parmesan over this if you wish. This soup will be good the first day, and even better the next day. After the first serving you may want to add RibolittaAdd chopped 2-3-day old bread to the soup, and re-heat while stirring. This will thicken the soup and make it even more substantial and satisfying.  
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