This recipe is from Leone's Italian Cookbook. It's a treasure of recipes from Mother Leone, who along with her sons ran a very famous restaurant in New York City.
Mother Leone's Minestrone
1 lb dried cranberry beans
5 quarts water
1 lb fresh green beans, broken into halves
6 oz salt pork, diced
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tbls olive oil
1 lb. onions, peeled and diced
1 lb. can peeeled plum tomatoes or 2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 medium sized garlic cloves, mashed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 medium sized carrot, scraped and diced
1 celery stalk with leaves, minced
1 pork hock or hambone
1 oz spaghettini per person
1/4 cup butter
Soak the dried cranberry beans in water overnight. Drain and discard water. If using fresh beans, shell 2 lbs. to have 1 lb. shelled. Do not soak the fresh beans. Add beans to the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add all other ingredients except butter and spaghettini. Cook sloowly for 2 hours.
When beans are cooked, measure 1 generous cup of soup for each person into another pot. Bring to a boil and add 1 oz spaghettini, broken into 1-1/2 inch pieces, for each person. Cook for 8 minutes. Add the butter, stir and serve. Serve grated Parmesan cheese on the side, and for wine, a Valpolicella.
Pour the remainder of the soup into severeral containers and cool. When cold, freeze for serving at a later time. When ready to serve the frozen soup, just reheat it slowly, stirring occasonally. Serves 15 or 16.
We get by with a little help from our friends