White Bean Minestrone
You can also use ⅓ pound of fresh spinach in place of the Swiss chard.
- ¾ cup dried Great Northern beans (or white pea beans)
- 6 cups water
- ⅛ pound (2 ounces) salt pork
- 1 onion
- 3 stalks celery (leaves included)
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 carrot
- 1 potato
- 2 cups coarsely chopped white cabbage
- 2 small zucchini
- 4 leaves Swiss chard
- 5 sprigs parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 6 cups Basic Beef Broth
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 cup cooked small-size pasta (optional)
- Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Soak the beans overnight in cold water, then drain. Place in a large soup pot with the water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 1 to 1½ hours. Drain and set aside.
Shred the salt pork, chop the onion, celery leaves, and celery. Seed and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Dice the carrots and potato. Coarsely chop the cabbage and the zucchini. Tear the Swiss chard (or spinach) into pieces and discard the stems. Chop the parsley.
In a soup pot, heat the salt pork. Add the onion, celery leaves, celery, tomatoes, carrot, potato, parsley, and thyme, stirring everything together. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Pour in the beef broth, and add the cabbage, zucchini, and cooked beans. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the chard, basil, and the pasta (if using). Simmer for 2 to 4 minutes until the leaves wilt. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the parmesan, and serve.