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Bean Soup from Tuscany
Yield: 6 servings

2 c dried cannellini beans
2 red onions
10 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
1 lg celery stalk
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 T fresh basil
1 ts fresh rosemary leaves
coarse grained salt
3 fresh tomatoes or 3 canned Italian tomatoes, drained
1 oz boiled ham
1 oz salt pork
1/4 c plus 8 ts olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/2 ts dried thyme or tarragon
1 savoy cabbage (about 2 lb)
8 slices coarse Italian bread

Soak the beans overnight in cold water, rinse and drain. Coarsely
chop one onion, parsley, celery, garlic, basil and rosemary. Place
in stockpot. Add beans, coarse-grain salt to taste and 5 quarts of
cold water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer
for about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining onion, chop up the tomatoes
in a food processor, and cut the ham and salt pork into small
pieces. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil and lightly saute the onion, ham
and salt pork for about 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes. Taste
for salt and pepper and add the thyme or tarragon. Simmer for
about 10 minutes, then set aside.

Clean and wash the cabbage. Cut into 1/2-inch strips. When the
beans have finished cooking, remove about half the beans and
vegetables with a slotted spoon and puree in a food processor.
Return the puree to the stockpot and add enough cold water to make
about 4 quarts liquid and bring to a boil. Add cabbage and simmer
about 25 minutes, then add tomatoes and meat to the stockpot and
simmer 5 minutes longer.

Toast the slices of bread and place in each individual soup bowl.
Ladle the soup over the bread and serve, adding a teaspoon of olive
oil to each serving.

NOTE: Dried herbs may be substituted for fresh using 1/3 to 1/2
teaspoon dried for each tablespoon fresh, or to taste.


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