Italian Vegetable Soup

A deeply flavorful soup, thanks to the addition of fresh herbs, Corona beans and our housemade chicken stock.

2 cups Corona beans, rinsed and soaked in a large stock pot of water overnight
2 leeks, trimmed of tough tops and ends, then diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
½-1 winter squash of your choice, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized cubes
1 cup Bolero carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup fingerling potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized cubes
4 cups canned diced Italian plum tomatoes
4 cups F&L chicken stock
3-4 cups water
½ cup white wine (if desired)
3-6 tablespoons combined chopped rosemary, parsley and thyme
2 cups spinach leaves, washed and torn if large
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Drain beans, rinse and set aside. Rinse out the stock pot and place it on the stove, turning the heat to medium-high. Add leeks and garlic, drizzling with the olive oil. Cook until leeks are translucent and garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

2. Once leeks are cooked, add in beans, water, wine (if using) and chicken stock. Generously season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 30-40 minutes, or until the beans are almost done. Add squash, carrots, potatoes and diced tomatoes and bring soup back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 more minutes, until the vegetables and beans are tender. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

3. Turn off heat and add in fresh herbs and spinach. Serve with grated Grana-style cheese alongside.

Fried Corona Beans with Kale-Lemon Pesto

Pan-fried and then tossed with a bright kale-lemon pesto, these crispy beans are incredibly satisfying.

4 cups cooked Corona beans (see method)
1 bunch Tuscan black kale
¾ cup Grana-style cheese
¾ cup toasted pecans
Zest and juice of 1-2 lemons
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for frying
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch salt

1. To prep the pesto: Roughly remove stems from kale. Add kale to a pot of boiling water. Stir and cook about 45 seconds, then remove and rinse with cold water. Pick up kale with your hands and mold into a ball, squeezing out all the excess water. Set aside. In a food processor, add the lemon zest, juice, salt, nutmeg, garlic and pecans. Pulse a few times to coarsely chop. Add in the kale, and pulse while adding olive oil. Taste for salt and add more oil if it is too dry.

2. Add 1-2 tablespoons additional olive oil to coat a large frying pan. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering, then add beans in a single layer. Stir to coat the beans, then let them sit long enough to brown on one side, about 3-4 minutes, before turning to brown the other side, also about 3-4 minutes. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the outside.

3. Add kale-lemon pesto to the beans and toss to combine. Remove from heat and serve lightly sprinkled with additional Grana cheese.

How-To: Cook Dried Corona Beans

A quick, how-to guide to prepping this week’s gorgeous oversized beans.

½ pound Corona beans
1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
Sprig each of thyme and rosemary
3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
Sea salt

1. Pick over the beans, discarding any misshapen beans and stones. Rinse the beans and drain. Place in a bowl, add water to cover generously and let soak overnight.

2. Drain the beans, place in a Dutch oven and add water to cover by 2 inches. Add the bay leaf, onion, fresh herbs and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, until the beans are soft, about 2 hours, checking the beans and adding more water as needed to keep the beans submerged. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt. Let the beans cool, then drain well. Yields about 6 cups cooked beans..

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