Classic Borlotti Bean Minestrone

May 17, 2010
Author Notes

This is a classic minestrone that incorporates Savoy cabbage, borlotti beans, parmesan, and fresh herbs. My mother used to make similar soups when I was growing up and this version is one of my favorite comfort foods. I have developed a bit of an obsession for Rancho Gordo beans, and their borlotti beans are classic in a minestrone. I recommend you try their beans if you haven't already, but if you can't find borlotti beans, pinto beans or even kidney beans would do. Rancho Gordo's beans are fresher than most dried beans and don't need to cook as long so if you are not using them, soak the beans overnight first. Also, when we finish a block of fresh parmesan, I keep the rind in the refrigerator to use in soups. If you don't have one on hand, omit that ingredient and add a bit more cheese at the table.
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  • Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup dried borlotti beans (or pinto or kidney beans soaked overnight)
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, chopped
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, coarsley chopped
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, coarsley chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan for serving
In This Recipe
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot and add the garlic, onion, parsley, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Stir for a couple of minutes to coat the vegetables with oil.
  2. Add the borlotti beans, tomatoes, parmesan rind, and 10 cups of water, and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat, cover, and let the soup simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the cabbage and cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and peas and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the sage and basil and serve immediately. Top each bowl with an extra bit of parmesan.

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