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Minestrone

300 g dried white (cannellini) beans
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and diced
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
5 zucchini peeled and diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
150 g cabbage, finely chopped
small piece of Parmigiano rind
2 1/2 litres chicken stock or water
a few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
100 g green beans, trimmed and cut into 1cm lengths
50 g spaghetti or other pasta broken up finely

Soak the white beans in water for as long as possible up to 24
hours. Heat the oil and fry the onion, gently until very soft. Add
the garlic, carrot, and zucchini and gently fry for about 5 minutes
longer. Throw in the potato, cabbage, Parmigiano rind, tomato,
chicken stock or water and herbs (if you're using water instead of
stock, add extra onion, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme). Season
with salt and pepper and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Drain the white beans, add to the soup and cook for an hour longer,
or until the beans are soft. Add more water if necessary and stir
the soup from time to time so that nothing sticks to the bottom of
the pan. Add the green beans, and pasta, simmer for another 10
minutes, or until the pasta is cooked, then serve. If you have
pesto, pop a blob on top of each bowl and call it minestrone alla
genovese.

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