Recipe: Minestrone all Romagnola

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Rancho Gordo heirloom Marcella beans in Minestrone all Romagnola

Marcella Hazan’s recipes have inspired so many of us in the kitchen and I think it’s safe to say that we’re better cooks because of her. Until I read her Classic Italian Cooking, I had a pretty cavalier attitude about throwing everything into a pot and seeing what happens. Marcella’s focus on quality ingredients and letting them do the work sounded a little pedantic on paper but when I cooked something simple, drizzled it with my best olive oil and tasted, I realized these Italians might actually be on to something. I’m 100% on board with having fewer fabulous ingredients and letting them shine.

This soup is our version of Marcella’s classic minestrone. I believe your new bag of Rancho Gordo Marcella cannellini beans would feel right at home among all the fresh vegetables and I think your house will feel and smell like home once this is simmering on low in your kitchen.

Note: While one vegetable is cooking, peel and cut up another.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 1 lb zucchini, cubed
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 4 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 2/3 cup canned plum tomatoes, with juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Marcella beans
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Serves 6

  1. In a large stockpot, mix the oil, butter and sliced onion. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the onion wilts and becomes pale golden, but not darker.
  2. Add the diced carrots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the celery and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage and cook until wilted, another 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, water, cheese rind (if using), and tomatoes with juice. Salt very lightly. Stir thoroughly. Cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. When the soup has cooked 2 1/2 hours, add the previously cooked Marcella beans. Stir and cook another 30 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, remove the cheese rind (if using). Swirl in the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.