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Minestrone

If this sounds good to you, but you don't have all the ingredients, as I now don't, improvise. Add potatoes and kale instead or turnips in a few weeks when we have them again. Change up the leafy greens. Use frozen or canned tomatoes or canned beans, if you didn't think ahead.

Prepare:

1 cup dried cannellini or borlotti beans (I often use pinto)

This will yield 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cooked beans. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Heat in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat:

1/4 cup olive oil

Add:

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

Cook for 15 minutes , or until tender. Add:

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

5 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons salt

Cook for 5 minutes longer. Add, and bring to a boil:

3 cups water

When boiling, add:

1 small leek, diced

1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

Cook for 5 minutes, then add:

2 medium zucchini, cut into small dice

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Cook for 15 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Add the cooked beans, along with:

1 cup bean cooking liquid

2 cups spinach leaves, coarsely chopped (about 1 pound)

Cook for 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more bean cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf.

Serve in bowls, each one garnished with:

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon or more grated Parmesan cheese

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