Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hunter's Minestrone

Cook Time: 40 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


* 2 quarts chicken stock
* 1 head garlic, halved
* 1/2 pound small rigatoni
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 8 fresh sage leaves
* 1 sprig fresh rosemary
* 1 sprig fresh thyme
* 3/4 pound loose sweet Italian pork sausage
* 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
* 2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
* 1 onion, roughly chopped
* 1 (28-ounce) can crushed plum tomatoes
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 (28-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely minced
* Coarsely ground black pepper
* 12 slices baguette
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Combine the stock and halved garlic head in a big saucepan and simmer
for about 15 minutes to give the stock a nice, garlicky taste; strain
out the garlic. Keep warm.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the rigatoni.

Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the sage, rosemary and
thyme and warm the oil over medium heat to infuse it with the flavor
of the herbs, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up
the sausage with the side of a big spoon until well browned. Chop the
carrots, celery, and onion in a food processor. Add to the saucepan
and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not

To the pan with the sausage stir in the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf,
cannelloni beans, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15
minutes stirring occasionally.

Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water for 6 minutes; it should be
slightly underdone. Drain and stir into the simmering soup. Add the
parsley, and salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste. Discard
the bay leaf and herb sprigs.

To serve, preheat the broiler. Put the baguette slices in a single
layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and broil until
the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Ladle the soup
into bowls and float a couple of the baguette slices on top.

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