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Zuppa di Panne

This recipe is long but contains no unusual ingredients. It takes time but needs little watching. It's from Castello Banfi in Tuscany.

1 pound dried cannellini or baby lima beans
Water to cover
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 fresh sage leaves
1 garlic clove
1 or 2 medium onions
3 stalks celery
4 medium carrots
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces) vegetable broth, plus enough water to make a quart
4 cups fresh spinach, loosely torn
4 cups Swiss chard, loosely torn
1/4 medium head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 can (1 pound, 12 ounces) tomatoes
Additional salt and pepper

To serve:
Thin slices of day-old toasted Tuscan-style bread
Chopped fresh onion
Extra virgin olive oil

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover. The next day, drain, and cook beans in water to cover along with salt, sage and garlic for about 1 hour.

Coarsely chop the onions, celery and carrots. Sauté in abundant olive oil for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and vegetable broth, cover, and bring to a simmer. Add Swiss chard, spinach, cabbage and tomatoes and let simmer over low flame for 1 hour.

When the beans are cooked, add them to the soup together with their cooking water. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Let soup simmer for at least another hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more water if soup is too thick.

Serve over toast. Garnish with fresh onions and extra-virgin olive oil.

Serves 8 to 10.

Sunday, December 26, 1999

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