Ganache


Far, Far Away

You may have noticed an absence on here lately. Life gets in the way. It is busy, messy, and time consuming. One finds other occupations of time and things like this blog drift back in priorities.

A catch up: a new shift at work, a few doctors trips and varied illnesses, a vacation, and a new focus on simple and quick eating. It’s what has helped get us through the last few months.

We returned from our vacation this past week, and now that the weather has turned cooler, all I could think about was soup. So I made this vegetable soup I had been jonesing to make ever since seeing it made on America’s Test Kitchen last season. Hope it makes you feel as warm and invited in your home as it did ours!

Hearty Minestrone Soup
Recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated

If you cannot find dried cannellini beans, no worries. Just subsitute navy or great northern beans. You can also substitute bacon for pancetta. If you don’t have a parmesean rind laying around in your freezer like I did, then just cut up a few small chunks and throw in. No worries. This would also be a great soup to subsitute in seasonal vegetables like winter squashes or different greens. Mix it up; be your own chef.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small head green cabbage, halved, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups water
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 piece parmesan cheese, rind (about 5-inchx2-inch)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups v 8 juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaf
fresh ground black pepper
grated parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Dissolve 1 1/2 tbsp salt in 2 qts. cold water in large bowl. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

2. Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 3-5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, onions, and zucchini; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 5-9 minutes. Stir in garlic, cabbage, 1/2 tsp salt and red pepper flakes; continue to cook until cabbage starts to wilt, 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer vegetables to rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

3. Add soaked beans, water, broth, Parmesan rind, and bay leaf to now-empty Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are fully tender and liquid begins to thicken, 45-60 minutes.

4. Add reserved vegetables and V8 juice to pot; cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and Parmesan rind, stir in chopped basil, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with olive oil and grated Parmesan. I liked those little soup crackers in mine too! Or a crusty piece of bread to sop up the juices would work great on the side.

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