This hearty meal of a soup gets its green from fresh zucchini, spinach and green beans and its heft from chickpeas, cannellini (white beans) and pasta. –RR
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil EVOO)
- 4 slices pancetta or 1/4 pound thick-cut prosciutto, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 1 can white beans (cannellini)
- 1 can chickpeas (cecci)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 cup ditalini pasta or mini-penne pasta
- 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 10 ounces triple-washed spinach, stems removed and coarsely chopped, or any other dark greens
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese, plus extra to pass at the table
- 12-16 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded, or 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, about two turns around the pan, and pancetta or prosciutto. Sauté for two minutes and add the onion, celery, garlic, zucchini and bay leaf to the pot.
Season vegetables with salt and pepper, to your taste. Sauté the vegetables for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the white beans, chickpeas and chicken broth to the pot.
Cover the soup and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and green beans to the soup and cook for eight minutes, or until pasta is just tender. Stir in the spinach to wilt, about one minute. Stir in grated cheese and ladle soup into bowls. Top soup with torn or shredded basil or chopped parsley.