This has been one of our favorite soups for years.
I make two versions. One, the quick and easy pantry Minestrone I posted here.
This is the more traditional version, starting with dried beans.
But, of course, I adjust to what’s on hand. Rather than using all red kidney beans I finished off my red and white kidney beans and a handful of brown beans.
This soup is chock full of vegetables, low in fat and packed with flavor…..
Soaking time can very with the age of your beans…. Mine were old so I soaked them for 4 hours. If you just bought a new bag, 2 hours is likely enough. Or you could just cover them with cold water and soak overnight, 8 – 12 hours (or longer)..
Total time: 6 hours3 hours soaking, 3 hours cooking, 30 minutes work
- 2 cups (16oz, 480gr) dried kidney beans, or whatever you have on hand
- 10 cups water
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 large carrots, sliced into quarter or half circles
- 2 – 3 ribs celery, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups Savoy or green cabbage, roughly chopped
- 4 cups (30oz, 900gr) whole tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) tomato sauce
- 3oz (90gr) Prosciutto, thickly or thinly sliced, chopped or other dry-cured ‘country’ ham, it adds lots of good, ham flavor
- 8oz (240gr) regular, baked or deli ham, cut into small cubes
- 10 cups water, app.
- 3 tsp basil
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- spaghetti, 4oz (120gr), a ‘circle’ about 1″ (2.5 cm) in diameter
- salt to taste if needed
- Sort through beans, discarding any stones or damaged beans.
- Put beans in soup pot or Dutch oven (5 qt capacity), add 10 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let them soak for 2 – 4 hours.
- Drain and rinse the beans, discarding the soaking water.
- Put beans back in the pot, add 10 cups water.
- Roughly chop the Prosciutto and add to the pot.
- Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 90 minutes. Do not let it boil hard – this could cause the beans to break-up.
- Uncover the soup and turn heat up to medium-high.
- Chop, slice, mince all vegetables, add to the pot as you work.
- Add all remaining ingredients except ham and spaghetti, cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Break spaghetti into 3″ (7.5cm) lengths and add to the pot along with the ham.
- Cover and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes, until spaghetti is done, stirring from time to time.
- Serve. Refrigerate the rest for freezing and / or eating later in the week.
Note: If you can get an actual ham bone (which I cannot) you can use that instead of the Prosciutto. Remove before adding vegetables.
Note 2: If it needs more salt, rather than add plain salt I would add a tsp of chicken or ham base or part of a stock cube.
Quick update on the girl dogs…. It was a lot warmer today, and sunny. They spent all afternoon outside watching for bunnies. When I finally let them back inside they were behaving properly again.
I’m definitely thinking cabin fever…..
I’m also thinking mon mari has cabin fever.
He’s been working on the ceiling, just not as hard as he had been.
Up until today it’s been very cold here and he’s been more interested in keeping the fires burning.
Still, he’s getting close to the end.
This section is all that’s left.
Then he can start working on the floor.
Slowly but surely…..
Second update on the dogs: They both just crawled under my desk, growling at each other. They each got a gentle tap on the butt and are now cozily sleeping together on the same dog bed.
Spring had better hurry…..