A Vegetable-Rich Minestrone Soup with Cranberry Beans (Borlotti)
In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight
Simple Feast is a great app for your iPhone or Android that features recipes from the some of the world’s best chefs. Like a lot of these new food apps, it features a shopping list and nutrition information but I think it’s the array of chefs and recipes that really sets this one apart. The soup and bean-obsessed among us will fall for Chef Paolo Dorigato’s Minestrone with our Cranberry beans. It’s loaded with great vegetables and it's substantial enough to serve as a meal. Minestrone Adapted from a recipe by chef Paolo Dorigato This recipe uses the cooking liquid from the beans as the base for the soup, but it you prefer, you could use chicken or vegetable stock. 8 ounces (a generous cup) Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans, cleaned and rinsed Extra virgin olive oil 2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped 1 large leek, white and light green sections cut into thin rounds 1 small bunch Swiss chard, leaves cut into narrow strips 1 small bunch broccoli rabe, tender stems and leaves cut into small pieces 1 large zucchini, medium dice Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 medium onion, medium dice 2 large carrots, thin slice 2 large stalks celery, medium dice 8-ounce slice pancetta, optional Pinch fennel seeds 1 cup medium dice butternut squash 1 small potato, peeled, medium dice Small wedge of parmesan cheese Slices of toasted country bread Soak the beans covered by at least 2 inches of cold water overnight. Drain the beans and put them in a pot with 14 cups of water. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender 45 minutes-1 hour. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid. Blend 1 cup of the cooked beans and 2 cups of the cooking liquid until smooth. Return to the pot, stir in 4 cups additional cooking liquid and bring to a simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a generous film of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek, onion, carrot, celery and pancetta, if using. Season lightly with salt and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fennel seeds for 30 seconds, add the broccoli rabe and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes to cook to remove any moisture, then add the chard and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the pureed beans, the butternut squash, potato, zucchini and whole beans. Add additional bean stock to adjust the thickness and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the soup. Dice it and return to the soup. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil and top with shavings of Parmesan cheese.