Minestrone Soup with Winter Vegetables
- 1/3 lb sliced pancetta, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 4 celery ribs, chopped
- 3 medium red onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes in juice
- 3 qt hot water
- 5 cups coarsely chopped cored Savoy cabbage
- 5 cups coarsely chopped escarole
- 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
- 1 19 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- cooked ditalini pasta tossed with oil
- grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook pancetta, onions, celery, and carrots in oils in a wide 7 to 9 qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Cut out stems from chard and chop stems, reserving leaves. Stir chard stems into pancetta mixture with garlic, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until veggies are very tender and begin to stick to bottom of pot, about 30 minutes.
Push veggies to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook, stirring until it starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes with their juice, add hot water. Bring to a simmer, stir in cabbage, escarole and Parmesan. Simmer until greens are tender, about 30 minutes.
Coarsely chop chard leaves and stir into soup along with beans. Simmer for 10 minutes, discard rind, add salt and pepper to taste.
Add cooked pasta, just before serving.
Soup without pasta, can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.
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