Green Minestrone

Green Minestrone

Minestrone di Verdure
(Serves 6)

1-cup cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 cup fresh beans (selection of blue lakes and yellow wax), cut into 1/4-inch pieces and blanched
1 cup fresh English peas, blanched
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1-tablespoon garlic, minced
1-cup carrot, diced
1-cup celery, diced
2-cups zucchini, diced
1-cup canned Italian tomatoes, drained and chopped
6-cups vegetable stock
2-cups savoy cabbage, shredded

1-cup orzo pasta, cooked al dente
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain cannellini beans. Cover beans with fresh water, bring to a gentle simmer and partially cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add salt and allow to cool in liquid. Drain and set aside.

In salted boiling water, cook peas and beans separately for 2 to 3 minutes. Shock each in cold iced water to cool immediately. Drain and set aside.

In large enamel casserole, bring 2 tablespoons olive oil to a medium heat. Add onions and sweat until soft and transparent. Add garlic, carrots and celery and cook gently for 5 minutes.

Add zucchini and sweat for 1 minute. Add partially cooked cannellini beans, tomatoes and stock, bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until beans are tender (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Add savoy cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes until cooked. Stir gently.

Add cooked orzo. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Just before serving add blanched peas and fresh beans, and bring to a simmer to heat.

Garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or with a dollop of fresh basil pesto. Serve with grilled rustic Italian batard (cut bread 1/4-inch thick, grill, then rub with garlic clove and brush with olive oil.

GraceAnn Walden is a long-time food writer and publishes a free e-magazine:

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Complementary Wines: Merlot, Petit Verdot

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