Minestra a Modo Mio (My Way)
- • 1 lb of dried chick peas • 2 dried bay leaves • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided • 2 garlic cloves, chopped • 1 large onion, chopped • 1 celery stalk, chopped • 1 carrot, chopped • 3 large potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes • 1 lb chicory or other leafy greens such as Swiss Chard or escarole • 2 teaspoons of sea salt • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- To cook the chick peas: Rinse the chick peas with cold water and place them in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel, cast-iron or clay pot. Add water to cover by an inch and allow them to soak overnight, but preferably for at least 24 hours.
- Without changing the water (this makes the beans creamier), add the bay leaves and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cover and allow to reach a slow rolling boil. (If the beans appear to have soaked up a lot of the water, add another cup or so of cold water before you start cooking). Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook slowly, with the lid sitting slightly askew. Stir frequently and be careful not to scorch the bottom. Cooking time will vary anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours and will depend on the freshness of the beans. (Tasting is the only way to know that they are done.) Add one teaspoon of salt in the last 10 minutes of cooking (adding salt before then will make the beans tough.) Drain the chick peas and reserve (they can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, covered.)
- To prepare the minestra: To a heavy-bottomed stainless steel, cast-iron or clay pot, add two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrot, one teaspoon of salt and several grindings of black pepper, lower the heat to medium low and saute, stirring often until the vegetables begin to soften and caramelize, about 6-8 minutes. Add 6 cups of water, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and chick peas, reduce the heat to medium low and for 10 minutes. Add the chicory or other greens and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the chicory is cooked through. Remove from the heat and drizzle the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino cheese. Buon appetito!
- Extra Two Cents: To make this dish heartier, add some fresh Italian sauaage. Prior to sauteing the vegetables, remove the meat from the casing, add a tablespoon of oil to the pot over medium heat and saute until browned, stirring often and breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon — thus “crumbling.” Remove it from the heat with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the pot and proceed as directed above.
Majella Home Cooking
Benvenuti a Majella Home Cooking! I’m Michelle Capobianco and welcome to my Italian kitchen! Majella - pronounced “mah-yel-lah”- is a mountain in the central Italian region of Abruzzo ...Read more about this chef..
Michelle DiBenedetto-Capobianco is a corporate lawyer-turned-private chef in New York. Restless in her legal career, Michelle began to spend each summer at her family home overlooking the Majella (pronounced “mah-yel-lah”) mountain in the central Italian region of Abruzzo where she studied real Italian cooking with talented home cooks and culinary professionals. Michelle now organizes creative small group tours of Abruzzo for visitors from around the globe.
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