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Greg's zuppa di cavolo
Tuscan cabbage soup
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This is based on a recipe from Lorenza de' Medici Stucchi's “Tuscany: The Beautiful Cookbook”. The original calls for cavolo nero, black cabbage, a form of Kale. I can't get that here, so I've made it with Savoy cabbage, which tastes good as well. Maybe Silverbeet would also be a good substitute.

Ingredients

quantity       ingredient       step
250 g       dried white beans (cannellini, for example)       1
1.5 kg       cavolo nero       2
150 g       onion       3
50 ml       olive oil       3
20 g       garlic       3
100 g       carrot       3
80 g       celery       3
2 l       water       4
32 g (8)       stock cubes       4
several       twigs of fresh thyme       4
400 g       tin chopped tomatoes       5
40 g       salt       6
      bread for serving, one slice per person       7
      garlic       7

Preparation

  1. Put the beans in boiling water and boil for a minute. Turn off heat and leave stand for at least 1½ hours.

  2. Chop the cabbage coarsely, discarding the stem.

  3. Peel and chop the onions, carrot and celery finely. Peel the garlic. Fry the onion in the oil for a couple of minutes until it starts becoming translucent. Crush the garlic into the mixture, then add the carrot and celery. Fry until slightly cooked.

  4. Add the water and stock cube and bring to the boil. Add the cabbage, thyme and tomatoes, stir well and bring back to the boil. Rinse the beans, then add to the pot and bring back to the boil.

  5. Simmer for 30 minutes, then stir in the salt.

  6. Simmer for about another hour. Toast the bread, smear with crushed garlic, and place one slice in each serving bowl. To serve, pour the soup over the bread.

Discussion

The original recipe called for frying the cabbage with the other vegetables. The quantities make that almost completely impracticable. It also wanted the bread to be placed in the bottom of a soup tureen, which makes it almost impossible to serve. Serving the bread in the soup bowl is well-established at least in France.

The quantity of water is based on using tinned tomatoes, which have their own juice. Without them you'd probably need about 200 to 300 ml more water.


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