Photograph by Ngoc Minh Ngo Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis


Starters from Issue 2 – Fall / Winter 2013 – Traces

It just doesn’t get more quintessential. Make good use of all those vegetables hibernating in your fridge—firmer ones early in the preparation, and lighter, leafy ones towards the end of simmering.

serves 6

  • 3 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 red onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 (15 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, broken up
  • ¼ lb green beans, halved
  • A (1 to 2-inch) piece of Parmigiano Reggiano rind
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1

    Cook pancetta in oil and butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, 3 minutes. Stir in onions and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.

  • 2

    Add carrots, celery, garlic and ¼ tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally and patiently, until browned, about 20 minutes. Push vegetables to one side and add tomato paste, stirring until it turns a couple of shades darker, about 2 minutes. Peel and thinly slice potato (those slender sections will give the soup an unctous underbelly) and stir in along with water, tomatoes with their juice, green beans, and cheese rind. (If you’re squeamish about the idea of overcooked beans, don’t be; meltingly tender green beans are delicious.)

  • 3

    Bring soup to a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, 1 hour. Stir in cannellini, kale, and parsley and simmer, partially covered, 25 minutes longer. Season. Serve soup drizzled with olive oil and grated cheese if you like. If you want to add spoon-sized cooked pasta, stir it in right before the soup hits the table.