3 tablespoons EVOO, plus more for serving
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
1/4 pound smoky ham or speck, diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 small onions, finely diced, plus 1 onion, halved
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 large fresh bay leaf
3 pints cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 small head savoy cabbage, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup borlotti beans, soaked overnight
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and minced onion, for serving
In a soup pot, heat the EVOO (3 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and ham and cook to render out some of the fat. Stir in the carrots, celery, diced onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and bay leaf and sweat out the vegetables a bit. Add the tomatoes, season everybody with salt and pepper, cover the pot, and cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes burst.
Add the cabbage, chicken stock, and 2 cups water and let that simmer.
Meanwhile, drain the soaked beans and rinse them. Put them in a saucepan and cover with fresh water (about 1 quart). Add the onion halves and season with salt. Cook the beans until tender, about 35 minutes.
Transfer half of the beans to a food processor and puree them with a little of their cooking liquid until they are fairly smooth. Drain the remaining beans and add them to the soup (discard the onion halves) along with the bean puree.
Just turn the heat off then and turn it back on whenever you’re ready to serve. Serve the soup topped with grated Parm, minced onion, and a fat drizzle of EVOO.