Minestrone

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This was a recipe I saw while watching Giada on the Food Network a couple of years ago. I finally made it last summer and I was very pleased with the results. Now that I’ve made it over a dozen times, I have updated the original recipe with my own changes and I love it even more! One ingredient that is an absolute must is the parmesan cheese rind. It adds an intense salty flavor that cannot be created any other way. In fact, I now save all of my parmesan rinds (in the freezer) and drop them into all kinds of soups.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 strips bacon, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. good red wine
1 pound Swiss chard, thick stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 large potato, peeled, cubed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (32-ounce) carton low sodium vegetable broth
1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry for 5 min. until browned.  Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

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Add the red wine to the pot, stir for about one minute.

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Add the potato and Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper; saute for 2 minutes.

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Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, mash half of the beans into a paste-like consistency, save the other half of the beans for later.

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Add the mashed beans, vegetable broth, and parmesan cheese rind to the pot.

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Simmer and stir occasionally, until the potato and carrot are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and chopped parsley.

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Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig.

Ladle into bowls and grate plenty of fresh parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 4-6.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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