Angelo’s Hearty Two Step Minestrone Recipe
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Angelo’s Hearty Two Step Minestrone

1 cup cannellini or borlotti beans, soaked overnight
4 springs fresh thyme
3 cups water
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons finely minced pancetta or prosciutto
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 canned whole tomatoes, chopped with
their juice
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1/2 small Savoy cabbage, slivered
5 or 6 leaves green or red chard, slivered
5 or 6 leaves Lacinto (Tuscan) kale, if available
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked elbow pasta or cooked rice, if desired
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Drain the beans and transfer to a large saucepan. Add 2 sprigs of the thyme, 1 cup of the water and 1 cup of the stock and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover and cook gently until the beans are tender, about 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the age of the dried beans. Pour the remaining water and stock into separate small saucepans and bring to a simmer. Check the beans while cooking, adding alternating cups of stock and water as the beans absorb the liquid in the pan. You will probably need about 2 cups stock and two cups of water during the cooking process. Resave at least 3 cups of stock to use later. When the beans are tender, remove them from the heat. Pick out the thyme sprigs and discard. In a food processor or blender, purée the beans with their liquid, cover and set aside.

Pour the olive oil into a heavy stockpot over medium-low heat and gently sauté the pancetta or prosciutto until it is melted but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, celery, parsley and remaining thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of the remaining stock, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

Add carrot and potato to the pot and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cabbage, chard, kale and zucchini and mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the bean purée and the remaining stock to make a thick but still liquid soup. Taste, adding salt and pepper if desired. Cover and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the greens are tender.

Serves 4 to 6 

"I learned to make this soup years ago from Angelo Pellegrini, an immigrant lad who went on to become a much-loved English professor at the University of Washington and one of Seattle’s most respected food gurus. It’s abundant enough to be a one dish (or one bowl) meal. It’s called "two step" because you can make the bean soup one day, then use the leftovers to finish the dish", Nancy Harmon Jenkins


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