Fall Tuscan Minestrone

Yield 8 servings
  • 1/2 cup dried borlotti beans (or any kind you like), soaked overnight, or 1 cup canned beans
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary, fresh or dried, finely chopped
  • 3 sage leaves, preferably fresh, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 cup whole farro, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 celeriac bulb, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 large pumpkin wedge, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard or Tuscan kale, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, or a scant tablespoon fine sea salt
  • Vegetable Stock or water, enough to cover all ingredients by 2 inches

1. If you are using fresh borlotti, place them to a pot with plenty of water, bring them to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for about 30 minutes before adding them to the. If you are using canned beans, skip this step.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, rosemary, sage, and bay leaves, and cook for about 2 minutes; the mixture should smell very aromatic.

3. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and stir well. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion turns translucent.

4. If you are using fresh borlotti, add the precooked beans to the pot. If you are using canned beans, rinse them well and add them to the pot.

5. Drain the farro of its soaking liquid and add the farro to the pot. Stir for 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and stir for 1 minute more. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

6. Add the celeriac, pumpkin, Swiss chard, and enough stock to cover all of the ingredients by 2 inches. Let the soup cook, half-covered, until the beans are cooked, about 1 hour. Add the salt at the end and adjust the seasoning to taste. Remove the bay leaf.

7. Serve in bowls and finish with extra-virgin olive oil and a piece of crusty bruschetta. This minestrone soup tastes even better the next day!

Reprinted from Naturally Vegetarian by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Valentina Solfrini.