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Stefano's Minestrone Soup

As promised, here's Stefano Faita's not so secret family recipe for minestrone soup:


3 (14 ounce) cans white beans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 head kale, chopped
1/2 white cabbage, chopped
3 leeks, sliced
3 zucchini, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Piece of Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
7 to 8 cups chicken stock
Handful basil, chopped
Handful Italian parsley, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Crusty bread, for serving


Mash half the beans and leave the remaining half whole. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté pancetta, garlic, onion, celery, carrot and rosemary for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add tomatoes, kale, cabbage, leeks, zucchini, and beans (whole and mashed), bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. For extra flavour, add piece of Parmesan rind, if desired. Add 7 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. (If you prefer a thinner soup, add 1 cup more chicken stock.) Reduce heat and let soup simmer, uncovered, until the minestrone has a dense, stew-like texture, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. You know when this soup is done when a spoon can stand in the centre of the soup.

Finish the soup with basil and parsley. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.