The variety of the vegetables, two kinds of legumes, and the Italian trick of cooking a bit of parmesan rind in the soup for added flavor create a palate-pleasing minestrone miles beyond the bland bean-and-pasta version so often served. The soup is flexible too; add your favorite vegetables or use whatever is bountiful in your garden this harvest. This soup keeps frozen for up to 3 months.
1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed thoroughly
4 medium tomatoes
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-in. dice
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-in. pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups shredded savoy or green cabbage
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed and drained
3- to 4-in. parmesan cheese rind
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
About 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan
How to Make It
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut stems from Swiss chard leaves by making a V-shaped cut into each leaf around the stem. Finely chop stems, cut leaves into ribbons, and set both aside separately.
Boil tomatoes for 30 seconds. Lift out with a slotted spoon and rinse under very cold water. Remove the skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut tomatoes into quarters, remove seeds, and chop. Set tomatoes aside.
Whirl half of cannellini beans with 1/2 cup water in a blender until smooth. Set bean purée aside.
Cook olive oil and garlic in a large pot over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, zucchini, reserved chopped chard stems, and salt. Cook, stirring, until stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and cabbage. Cook, stirring, until cabbage wilts, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add reserved chard leaves, remaining cannellini beans, the chopped tomatoes, bean purée, chickpeas, parmesan rind, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook until all vegetables are tender and flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Remove parmesan rind. Serve soup hot, topped with shredded parmesan.
This is good soup. It is a good way to use up the scads and scads of swiss chard that come in our CSA box. I usually saute a little onion and add it, and use whatever vegetables I have on hand. I really like pureeing the cannellini beans for some thickness, eliminating the need for flour, cream or other thickeners.
This soup is delicious, so complex in flavors, next time will use canned tomatoes, may have more robust tomato flavor, which we like. I also added a chopped onion. The parmesan rind melted in the soup, but otherwise the recipe was a hit.
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