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WHAT SHE'S HAVING

Recipe: The late Marcella Hazan’s minestrone, from her native region, is a thick soup with extraordinary flavor

Marcella's Minestrone alla Romagnola (Vegetable Soup, Romagna-Style).Sheryl Julian

Serves 6

"At home, in my native Romagna, this is the way we make minestrone," writes the late Marcella Hazan in "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking," newly reissued in a 30th anniversary edition. "To seasonal vegetables we add the always available staples -- carrots, onions, potatoes -- and cook them in good broth over slow heat for hours. The result is a soup of dense, mellow flavor that recalls no vegetable in particular, but all of them at once." She calls for most of the vegetables to be diced; cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. The original recipe calls for the Parmesan rind as optional, but it gives the soup extraordinary flavor. Follow her exact instructions for how to add everything to the pot and allow three hours for the soup to simmer. This is a thick pot. "Minestrone ought never to be thin and watery," she writes.

1pound (2 slender) zucchini
½cup olive oil
3tablespoons butter
1medium onion, very thinly sliced (to make 1 cup)
2medium carrots, diced (1 cup)
2stalks celery, diced (1 cup)
1large potato, peeled and diced (2 cups)
¼pound green beans
½medium Savoy or regular cabbage, cut into fine shreds (3 cups)
6cups meat broth
Rind from a large piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, scraped clean
cup canned imported Italian tomatoes, with their juices
Salt, to taste
1can (about 15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained or 3/4 cup dried white kidney beans, soaked overnight and simmered until tender
cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Soak the whole zucchini in a large bowl of cold water for at least 20 minutes. Rinse them. Trim both ends on each zucchini and cut into 1/2-inch dice.

2. In a soup pot, combine the oil, butter, and onion. Turn the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the onion wilts and becomes a pale gold, but no darker.

3. Add the carrots and cook, stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, soak the green beans in cold water, rinse, snap off both ends, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

5. Add the green beans to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, cook 2 minutes, then add the cabbage. Cook 6 minutes more.

6. Add the broth, the Parmesan rind, tomatoes and their juices, and a sprinkle of salt. If using canned broth, salt lightly at this stage and correct for salt later on. Stir the pot thoroughly. Cover the pot, and lower the heat, adjusting it so the soup bubbles slowly, cooking at a steady, but gentle simmer.

7. When the soup has cooked for 2 1/2 hours, add the drained cannellini beans, stir well, and cook for at least 30 minutes more. If necessary, you can turn off the heat at any time and resume the cooking later. Cook until the consistency is fairly dense. If you should find that the soup is becoming too thick before it has finished cooking, you can dilute it a bit with more broth or water.

8. When the soup is done, just before you turn off the heat, remove the cheese crust, swirl in the grated cheese, then taste for seasoning, and correct for salt. Minestrone is even better when reheated the following day.

Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking"

Serves 6

"At home, in my native Romagna, this is the way we make minestrone," writes the late Marcella Hazan in "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking," newly reissued in a 30th anniversary edition. "To seasonal vegetables we add the always available staples -- carrots, onions, potatoes -- and cook them in good broth over slow heat for hours. The result is a soup of dense, mellow flavor that recalls no vegetable in particular, but all of them at once." She calls for most of the vegetables to be diced; cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. The original recipe calls for the Parmesan rind as optional, but it gives the soup extraordinary flavor. Follow her exact instructions for how to add everything to the pot and allow three hours for the soup to simmer. This is a thick pot. "Minestrone ought never to be thin and watery," she writes.

1pound (2 slender) zucchini
½cup olive oil
3tablespoons butter
1medium onion, very thinly sliced (to make 1 cup)
2medium carrots, diced (1 cup)
2stalks celery, diced (1 cup)
1large potato, peeled and diced (2 cups)
¼pound green beans
½medium Savoy or regular cabbage, cut into fine shreds (3 cups)
6cups meat broth
Rind from a large piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, scraped clean
cup canned imported Italian tomatoes, with their juices
Salt, to taste
1can (about 15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained or 3/4 cup dried white kidney beans, soaked overnight and simmered until tender
cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Soak the whole zucchini in a large bowl of cold water for at least 20 minutes. Rinse them. Trim both ends on each zucchini and cut into 1/2-inch dice.

2. In a soup pot, combine the oil, butter, and onion. Turn the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the onion wilts and becomes a pale gold, but no darker.

3. Add the carrots and cook, stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, soak the green beans in cold water, rinse, snap off both ends, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

5. Add the green beans to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, cook 2 minutes, then add the cabbage. Cook 6 minutes more.

6. Add the broth, the Parmesan rind, tomatoes and their juices, and a sprinkle of salt. If using canned broth, salt lightly at this stage and correct for salt later on. Stir the pot thoroughly. Cover the pot, and lower the heat, adjusting it so the soup bubbles slowly, cooking at a steady, but gentle simmer.

7. When the soup has cooked for 2 1/2 hours, add the drained cannellini beans, stir well, and cook for at least 30 minutes more. If necessary, you can turn off the heat at any time and resume the cooking later. Cook until the consistency is fairly dense. If you should find that the soup is becoming too thick before it has finished cooking, you can dilute it a bit with more broth or water.

8. When the soup is done, just before you turn off the heat, remove the cheese crust, swirl in the grated cheese, then taste for seasoning, and correct for salt. Minestrone is even better when reheated the following day.Sheryl Julian. Adapted from "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking"


Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.