Borlotti Minestrone

  • 1 1/4 cups dried borlotti beans (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped bacon (about 6 slices) $
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 small) $
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrot (about 2 carrots) $
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 medium) $
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, undrained $
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation

1. Sort and wash beans; place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain beans.
2. Place beans in a large saucepan, and cover with water to 3 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain.
3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon to pan; cook 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring frequently. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through garlic); sauté 4 minutes. Add zucchini; sauté 3 minutes. Add kale; sauté 2 minutes or until kale wilts. Add 3 cups water, tomato paste, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add beans; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper; sprinkle with cheese.