Minestra is a simple soup of greens and beans — escarole and white cannellinis for our family. Minestrone is a bigger soup, with more vegetables and mixed varieties of beans and pasta, too.
Greens and beans is more of a meal but we often use it as a side with a lighter entrée like a crispy-skin fillet of branzino.
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- 1 cup dry white beans (cannellini)
- 1 onion, halved and peeled
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- About ¹/₄ cup EVOO (editor's note: extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and seeded, 1 halved
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped or sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 to 10 cups fresh flat-leaf kale, stemmed and sliced into 1-inch ribbons, or 1 large head escarole, coarsely chopped
- A little freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
PLACE THE BEANS IN A BOWL and soak overnight. (For a quick-soak method, cover the beans with boiling water and let stand for 1 hour.) Rinse the beans and place in a pot. Cover with 7 to 8 cups water. Add the onion and bay leaves, bring to a boil, season with salt, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until tender, skimming as necessary. Remove the onion and bay leaves and drain the excess water if there’s more than ½ cup.
IN A LARGE SAUTÉ PAN, heat the EVOO over medium to medium-high heat. Add the shallots, sliced lemon, and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping or stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add the greens in bunches to wilt in, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and add the stock and the beans. Simmer until ready to serve. Douse with lemon juice and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
Excerpted from "RACHAEL RAY 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life" by Rachael Ray. Copyright © 2019 by Rachael Ray. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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