Not all minestrone’s are created equal. Typically we throw our summer’s best into the pot and often find an insipid, watery result. Not with this standout recipe. The three key ingredients that add robust flavor are simple and essential: the parmesan rind; the pureed cannellini beans; the dry white wine.
They provide the perfect back-drop that does justice to the crisp, bright vegetables.
Recipe from Sunset magazine, October 2007
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed thoroughly
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-in. dice
- 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-in. pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups shredded savoy or green cabbage
- 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed and drained
- 3- to 4-in. parmesan cheese rind
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- About 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 onion
- 2 leeks, white part chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut stems from Swiss chard leaves by making a V-shaped cut into each leaf around the stem. Finely chop stems, cut leaves into ribbons, and set both aside separately.
- Boil tomatoes for 30 seconds. Lift out with a slotted spoon and rinse under very cold water. Remove the skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut tomatoes into quarters, remove seeds, and chop. Set tomatoes aside.
- Whirl half of cannellini beans with 1/2 cup water in a blender until smooth. Set bean purée aside.
- Cook olive oil and garlic in a large pot over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onion, leeks, carrots, zucchini, reserved chopped chard stems, and salt. Cook, stirring, until stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and cabbage. Cook, stirring, until cabbage wilts, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add reserved chard leaves, remaining cannellini beans, the chopped tomatoes, bean purée, chickpeas, parmesan rind, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until all vegetables are tender and flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Remove parmesan rind. Serve soup hot, topped with shredded parmesan.