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White Bean & Vegetable Soup

This twist on Italian minestrone, with its hearty tomato base, is especially welcome in cold weather. The garnish of olive oil and grated Parmesan brings out the soup’s flavor. The large capacity of a dutch oven holds the bounty of vegetables as it simmers in the savory broth.

Ingredients

  • 1?4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1?2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups (6 oz/185 g) roughly chopped spinach
  • 6 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz/470 g) cannellini beans, drained
  • 4 cups (32 fl oz/1 l) chicken broth
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Makes 6–8 servings

  1. In a 51?2- to 7-qt (5.5- to 7-l) dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots, carrots, leek, and celery and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the red pepper flakes, rosemary, and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the spinach and stir until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each with a generous swirl of extra-virgin olive oil and a dusting of Parmesan. Serve right away.

 

Appears with permission from Cooking in Cast Iron. Recipes by Valerie Aikman-Smith; photographs by Ray Kachatorian. Copyright 2010 by Weldon Owen Inc.

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