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Minestra is a traditional Italian soup made with beans and greens. I use escarole, but you use lots of different greens such as kale. –RR For a complete meal, serve with Panini with Roasted Peppers and Stuffed and Wrapped Figs.


  • 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/8 pound pancetta, sliced and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 pounds escarole (2 medium bunches or 1 large bunch), washed and coarsely chopped

  • 2 cans cannellini beans (14 ounces each), drained

  • 1 quart prepared chicken stock or broth

  • A couple pinches nutmeg, ground or freshly grated

  • Coarse salt and black pepper

  • Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for topping

  • Warm crusty bread, for mopping


In a large, deep, heavy pot over moderate heat, sauté garlic and pancetta in EVOO (two turns of the pan) for 3 minutes. Add onion and cook 1-2 minutes longer.

Add the greens and wilt them down to fit them all in the pot. Add beans, broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook over moderate to medium-high heat for 12 minutes, or until greens are no longer bitter. Serve with shaved cheese, bread and good red wine.

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