Minestrone alla milanese

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
1 \N Celery stalk with leaves
1 \N Onion
1 \N Carrot
2 \N Slices lean salt pork
1 \N Sage leaf
3 tablespoons Olive oil (to cover the bottom of the pot)
\N \N SOUP==
2½ quart Hot water
3 teaspoons Salt
2 \N Celery stalks
2 \N Carrots
3 \N Potatoes
¼ \N Cauliflower
2 mediums Zucchini
¼ small Cabbage
¼ \N Head escarole
¼ \N Head curly endive
1 cup Fresh spinach leaves
½ small Onion
3 \N Peeled plum tomatoes
1 cup Green peas
1 cup Rice *OR*
1 cup Small macaroni
½ cup Canned garbanzos & their liquid
½ cup Canned kidney beans or shell beans & their liquid
6 \N Slices Italian bread
4 tablespoons Grated Parmesan cheese

Battuto: Chop to a paste your seasonings, celery, onion, carrot and sage along with the lean salt pork. Chop all these coarsely, and then keep chopping until everything is reduced to a paste. Blenders don't seem to do too well with this combination of pork and celery, so they are not recommended. When the battuto is ready, saute it in the olive oil in a big soup pot. Once the battuto is golden, the minestrone is on its way. Soup: Add to the pot the hot water and the salt, raise the heat to high. Chop the celery, carrots and 2 of the potatoes into ¼" bits, break the cauliflower into small pieces, preserving as much as possible the individual flowerets. Put these 4 vegetables to boil in the flavored water for 10 minutes, while you prepare the other vegetables: slice the third potato with a potato peeler into paper-thin slices, and add them to the pot. Chop the zucchini in half, then quarters, then slice into ½" bits. Cut the cabbage into thin slices and then into ⅛" bits. Break the escarole, endive, and spinach into ½" pieces. Slice the onion into slivers. Add these, the tomatoes and the peas to the boiling pot, lower the heat, and let bubble along for about 15 minutes. If you wish, add 1 cup of rice at this time, to make a northern variation, or a cup of small macaroni to make a southern version. At the end of 15 minutes, or when all the vegetables are done, add the garbanzos, mashing some of them as you stir them in. Cook for another 15 to 25 minutes, depending on how thick you wish your soup. The real minestrone has a nice, thick consistency, although some prefer it thinner. Serve hot in winter with a slice of toasted (even better, fried) Italian bread in the bottom of the soup plate and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top. Serve at room temperature without the bread in summer. From The Romagnolis' Table by Margaret & G. Franco Romagnoli. Submitted By TERRI WOLTMON On 09-29-94

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