Alice Louise Waters is an American chef, restaurateur, activist, and author. She is the owner of Chez Panisse, a Berkeley, California restaurant famous for its organic, locally-grown ingredients and for pioneering California cuisine.
Recipe Ingredients and Preparation
1 cup dried cannellini or borlotti beans. This will yield 2 ½ to 3 cups of cooked beans. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat:
¼ cup olive oil
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
½ 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 beans, coarsely chopped (about 1 pound)
Cook for 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more beans cooking liquid. Remove bay leaf. Serve in bowls, each one garnished with:
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon or more grated Parmesan cheese
Makes 8 servings.
Cut all the vegetables into bite-size pieces so that each spoonful will have a variety of tastes and textures.
Spring Minestrone with Peas and Asparagus:
Instead of carrot in the soffritto, use 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces. Do not let it brown. If green garlic is available, use 2 or 3 stalks, trimmed and chipped, instead of garlic cloves. Use 2 leeks instead of one. Add the liquid (half water, half broth, if possible), bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Omit the green beans, zucchini, and tomatoes. Substitute 1 cup shelled peas (from 1 pound in the pod) and ½ pound asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal into ½ inch thick pieces. Add with the beans and cook for 5 minutes before adding the spinach. If not serving this soup right away, cool it down quickly in an ice bath so the asparagus does not lose its bright green color.