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Friday, July 28, 2017

summer vegetable soup

This soup can be easily adapted to suit the season and the vegetables you have on hand - try replacing some or all of the zucchini with a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, or a cup of trimmed green beans and chopped ripe tomato. Also, tender young fennel bulbs are in the markets now (and I prefer its delicate flavor to celery), but feel free to use 2 chopped celery stalks instead.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb (fronds reserved for garnish), tough outer leaves removed, finely chopped
3 carrots, sliced into thin coins
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans
Kosher salt
2 small zucchini (preferably 1-inch diameter) quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 cup ditalini pasta
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
Parmigiano or grana padano cheese

Pour the oil in a large saucepan or pot and place over medium heat.
Add the leeks, onion, fennel and carrot and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't brown.
Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cannellini beans, 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat and continue to cook at a gently simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a separate pot of boiling water until al dente - drain and reserve.
Stir the zucchini into the pot and cook until crisp-tender. Add the pasta and parsley.
Taste and season with more salt as need. Serve the soup garnished with chopped fresh fennel fronds and grated Parmigiano cheese.

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