What began as a kitchen sink soup, steadily turned into one of our favourite winter stews. We’re always amazed what can be whipped up with minimal pantry ingredients. Feel free to substitute vegetables but it’s great to start with a good sofrito base (basically a fancy term for an aromatic vegetable starter). Oh, and don’t forget your most important ingredient for this dish, an old Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind, which lends a certain creaminess to the broth.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SUECH AND BECK
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup pancetta, cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 15oz tin plum tomatoes (San Marzano preferably)
1L chicken stock
2 rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 2" piece parmesan rind
1 15oz tin white beans, such as cannellini or white kidney
2 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
Kosher salt and Ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Fry the pancetta for 4-6 minutes until it begins to turn golden. Add the onion and garlic, cooking for 4 minutes until translucent.
2. Add the carrots, parsnip and potato, cooking for another 6-8 minutes until the vegetables become slightly tender. Add the pepper and garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
3.Add the tomato, chicken stock, rosemary, bay and cheese rind, if using. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and add the beans and cabbage, continue cooking for another 15 minutes until the soup has slightly thickened. Check for seasoning. Remove and discard cheese rind.
4. Divide between bowls, serving with heaps of grated parmesan cheese and a good crack of black pepper.
*You can easily freeze the rinds of cheese or cut the rind off a fresh parmesan rind for this soup. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.