This very-nearly fat-free(depending upon how much reggiano you grate on your bowl, and whether you choose to drizzle some of your special extra-virgin oil on the top)and vegetarian soup came from Sicily via, I think, Bon Appetit Magazine some years ago. It is so simple and unadorned that it is hard to believe how good it is. And if you make a lot, it only gets better as you reheat it. The cooking time/prep time estimates do not include the overnight soaking of the beans.
- add 1/2 cup dried great northern beans or cannellini beans (If you can't find fava beans, use all small white beans--which will also reduce prep time)
- add 8 ounces savoy cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 4 cups--loosely packed, don't substitute regular cabbage)
- add 1/2 cup dried fava beans
- add 1/2 head bibb lettuce, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 2 cups--loosely packed)
- add 1 stalk celery
- add 1 large onion
- add 6 cups water
- add freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- add extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- add salt & fresh ground pepper
- add 1 good sized carrot
- Place fava beans in a medium saucepan and cover by three inches with cold water.
- Place white beans in a large bowl and cover by three inches of cold water.
- Allow both containers of beans to soak overnight.
- If using fava beans:.
- Place saucepan of fava beans over medium heat, bring to a boil and allow to bubble for about five minutes.
- Drain fava beans, and, when cool enough to handle, slit the skin and peel off the outer skin of each bean.
- Discard the peelings.
- Drain the white beans.
- Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a large pot.
- To the boiling water add all the beans, the onion, carrot and celery.
- Partially cover and simmer over medium (or medium low) heat until beans are almost done-- about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Add cabbage and lettuce; partially cover and simmer for at least an hour, or until beans are tender.
- (Note: At this point, I ladle out a good sized portion for a friend who is on a low-sodium regimen. With a little Reggiano grated on top, she finds this soup delicious without any seasoning.).
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Ladle into bowls.
- Grate some fresh parmesan on the top and, if you like, drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil.