RECIPE

Hearty and Healthy Three-Bean Minestrone

Expect requests for seconds for this wholesome three bean soup flavored with roasted tomatoes, veggies and fresh herbs.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups Parmigiano and Herb-Fortified Stock (recipe follows)
  • 4 Roasted Tomatoes, chopped (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
  • 1 1/8-inch-thick slice of prosciutto di Parma (about 1/4 pound) (optional)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic (from Roasted Tomato recipe)
  • 1 red chili pepper, such as Fresno or Holland pepper, finely chopped or thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound small potatoes, chopped or 1 cup small pasta
  • 1 can cannellini beans (15 ounces) , drained
  • 1 can chickpeas (15-15.5-ounces), drained
  • 5 ounces fresh, thin green beans, cut into thirds
  • 1 small head escarole or 1 small bundle chard, shredded
  • Lemon zest
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded, for topping
  • Hot, crusty bread for mopping

For the Parmigiano and Herb Fortified Stock:

  • 1 large rind trimmed from a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or a few small pieces rind that you’ve saved-up
  • 1 bundle of several sprigs each fresh thyme, parsley and rosemary, tied
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced on angle
  • 2 carrots, sliced on angle
  • Peeled rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 12 cups (3 quarts) water

For the Roasted Tomatoes:

  • 24 ripe organic vine-ripened tomatoes or large plum tomatoes
  • Several cloves garlic, crushed
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for liberal drizzling

Preparation

Set aside or prepare the Parmigiano and Herb Fortified Stock and Roasted Tomatoes.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the prosciutto and stir a couple of minutes. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and chili pepper and season with salt and pepper. If you are using potatoes, add them here. If you are using pasta, heat a second medium size pot of water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to the package directions for al dente. Cool the pasta and drizzle with a touch of EVOO. Cover and store the pasta separately from the soup.


Cover the pan and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cannellini beans, chickpeas, prepared stock and prepared tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil and add the green beans. Bring the soup back to a bubble, then turn off the heat and cool the soup. Store the soup in the refrigerator for a make-ahead meal.

To reheat the soup: Place the soup over medium-high heat. Crisp up the bread in a warm oven. When the soup comes to a boil, stir in the cooked pasta, escarole and a little lemon zest. Turn off the heat when the pasta is warmed through. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and top with cheese, a drizzle of EVOO, and crusty bread alongside for mopping.


For the Parmigiano and Herb Fortified Stock:

Place the cheese rind, herb bundle, onion, celery, carrots, lemon rind, bay leaves, chicken stock and water into a pot and bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least 1 hour, then remove the rind, herb bundle and vegetables with a slotted spoon or strainer.


For the Roasted Tomatoes:

Pre-heat the oven to 500°F.

Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet or baking sheets in a single layer. Scatter the garlic among the tomatoes, dress with EVOO to coat and season with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes until they burst and skins split and begin to char, about 30 minutes. Cool the tomatoes until cool enough to handle and peel. Place the tomatoes in a bowl.

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