Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
6 to 8 servings
Now that the weather has turned slightly cool - and will only be getting colder from here - thoughts turn to cozy meals. Soups and stews seem to be at the top of everyone's list after a summer of grilled foods and crisp salads. This is a delicious soup, which is great to have on hand because even though it makes a lot, it improves with reheating. Marcella also has a variation of this that is served at room temperature, which is good to eat when the weather is warm, and the garden is flush with zucchini and green beans.
I have never tried lima beans in place of the cannellini beans, but as I like them so much, even the frozen ones, I might try them the next time I make this.
1 pound unpeeled zucchini, ends trimmed and diced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion sliced very thin
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
1/4 pound fresh green beans, topped and cut into small pieces (about 4 to an inch)
3 cups shredded cabbage, savoy or regular green
1-1/2 cups caned cannellini beans, drained (If you want to start with your own dried beans, they must be pre-cooked, not just soaked, for this recipe)
6 cups chicken stock
2/3 cups canned plum tomatoes with their juice
1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Put the oil, butter, and sliced onion into an 8-quart stockpot. Turn the heat to medium/low, and cook the onion until it softens and turns a pale gold. Do not let it color more than this.
The diced vegetables are to be added sequentially, not just plopped into the pot. First, add the diced carrots, and cook for 2 -3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Next add the diced celery and do the same. Then do the same with the potatoes. Now do the same with the green beans. Last, do the same with the zucchini.
Cook them all together for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shredded cabbage, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes with their juice. At this point check carefully for salt. How much you need will depend on how much your chicken stock has in it, but be sparing because you can add more when it's cooked down.
Stir thoroughly, cover the pot, and lower the heat so the contents are cooking at a gentle simmer.
After 2-1/2 hours, added the canned drained cannellini beans. Then cook for at least another 30 minutes. This soup should be rather thick, but if it gets too thick while cooking, it can be thinned with a little water.
When it's done, turn off the heat, swirl in the grated cheese. Taste and correct for salt. Improves with reheating.