Lately I have been rereading some of Angelo Pellegrini’s books. He was an Italian immigrant who became a college professor at the University of Washington…an English professor no less!I knew some who had taken classes from him and they described him as one of the most dynamic and loved teachers. In his books he most eloquently writes about the pleasure of growing and making your own food. He even made his own wine with grapes sent to him by Robert Mondavi. One of the recipes he loosely describes in his first book, “The Unprejudiced Palate” is a minestrone soup. This my version inspired by a great man who always referred to himself as a peasant.
6 cups chicken stock and water, 1/2, 1/2
1 cup cannellini beans, soaked overnight
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups chicken stock
4 ounces lean salt pork, minced
1 cup spring onions, medium chop (or yellow onions)
1 cup leeks, medium chop, white only
1 cup celery, medium chop
4 cups canned tomatoes
1 cup zucchini, sliced into coins
2 cups kale, ribs removed and hand torn into small pieces
1 cup savoy cabbage, medium chop
1 cup trottoloni or elbow pasta if you can’t find
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. After removing the beans from the overnight soak, put them in a large pot with 2 sprigs of thyme and 6 cups of water or a combo of water and chicken stock.
2. After the beans are completely cooked and very little liquid is left in the pot, smash about 3/4 of the beans. Then add 4 cups of chicken stock and simmer.
3. IN ANOTHER large pot saute the minced salt pork with the chopped onion and garlic until the onions are soft and just about to turn brown. Add the tomatoes and simmer.
4. Into the bean soup add one cup leeks, one cup celery, one cup cabbage and two cups pasta and cook until al dente. Add more water or stock if needed.
5. Add the bean soup to the tomato mixture.
6. Add the zucchini and kale to the soup and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are just done.
7. Serve with a heavy sprinkle of parmesan cheese.