fall & winter soup

Minestrone di Romagna
serves 6-8 people

aprox 8 tbls olive oil
2 or 3 large sweet onions, sliced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
2 or 3 sticks celery, sliced
3 or 4 medium potatoes, sliced or diced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
some French beans (optional)
2 - 14.5oz tinned Italian tomatoes with their juice or the equivalent (I use canned diced tomatos with Italian herbs)
1 - 14 oz can of cannellini beans, drained (or the equivalent fresh cooked)
Add stock for taste (I use aprox 2 tbls of a concentrated wild mushroom vegetable stock paste)
1/3 of a small head of cabbage, preferably Savoy, shredded
1 pat of butter or margarine (optional)

Choose a large stockpot. Start with the oil and add sliced onions, cooking over medium heat until the onion softens and pales. While the onions are cooking you can cut the carrots, then add them and cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring once or twice. Repeat the proceedure with the rest of the ingredients allowing 2 or 3 minutes for each new ingredient, stir occassionally so that nothing sticks to the pan. The sequence matters for the cooking time of each vegetable. Add the canned ingredients and the stock and at the end the shredded cabbage. Then cover the vegetables with hot water. (Do not add too much though, you don't want it to be too thin or watery). Add the butter if you like for a richer taste. Cover and cook at a very slow boil for at least 3 hours. If neccessary you may stop cooking at any time and resume later. This soup gets better with age and can keep refrigerated for up to a week. Feel free to vary the types and/or amounts of ingredients. Spice to your taste.

Garnish with freshly grated parmesan or another favorite cheese.

This recipe is an adaptation of the Minestrone di Romagna recipe from Mariella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook. It was given to me by my friend Barbara.