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Gambardella's Minestrone Soup

Posted by CookinMom at anonymous April 2001

1/2 cup dry cannellini or Great Northern beans
1/2 cup dry red kidney beans
1/2 cup dry garbanzo beans
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/4 cup dry split peas
1 small white potato, peeled and diced
4 or 5 cups chicken or beef broth
2 (16 ounce) packages frozen Italian vegetables
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed,
    seeded and chopped
3 large stalks celery, diced
1 medium bulb fennel, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup parsley stems, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh ripe tomatoes, diced, or peeled
    and diced canned tomatoes
Cooked pasta or rice

Soak the cannellini, kidney and garbanzo beans, lentils and peas in lots of water to cover overnight. The next day, cook in 3 cups water 20 minutes; skim the foam from the top. Do not drain.

Simmer the potatoes in 1 cup broth 15 minutes; set aside. (Do not drain either preparation.)

In a heavy-bottomed 8-quart pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery and fennel; saut? until the onions are golden. Add the basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, fennel seeds, salt and pepper; add simmered beans, undrained potato and vegetables, and tomatoes. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little more broth if needed.

Serve over pasta or rice.

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