Cucina Restaurant Minestrone
¾ cup cannellini beans, soaked in water overnight to soften
1 gallon chicken stock (divided)
1 bay leaf
¼ cup olive oil
1 pound large diced tenderloin beef tips (see note)
1 medium yellow onion, cut into medium dice
½ medium fennel bulb, cut into medium dice
¼ head green cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup white wine
½ medium eggplant, peeled and cut into medium dice
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 small zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
¼ head cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
Salt and white pepper to taste
Chopped Italian parsley
Additional extra-virgin olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Ahead of time, simmer beans, uncovered, in half the chicken stock and bay leaf until soft but not mushy. Drain beans and reserve liquid.
In a large soup pot, heat oil. When pan is hot, add beef tips, season well with salt and pepper and sear until brown, turning as needed. Remove beef from pan, reduce heat to medium, and add onion. Cook until onion is soft but not browned. Add fennel and cook a few minutes. Add cabbage and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that cabbage does not brown. Add garlic and cook briefly, just until garlic smell becomes pronounced. Add white wine, eggplant, tomato and simmer about 3 minutes. This is to start to cook out the alcohol. Add liquid from beans, remaining chicken stock, the beef tips, oregano, zucchini and cauliflower. Simmer over low heat about 20 to 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
Add spinach and beans and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper. Serve topped with chopped Italian parsley, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. Eat with some hard crusty bread. Makes about 1 gallon of hearty or 15 generous portions.
Note: If using any other cut of beef, then you must sear the beef in olive oil until browned, then add all the chicken stock and beans and simmer until beef is tender and beans are cooked.