This very simple to make soup is unbelievably flavorful! The soup is meatless. However, I do like to make it with chicken stock. You can certainly add a little pancetta or Kielbasa sausage if you like. But it is quite delicious without. The addition of Parmigiano rinds is one reason for the rich flavor. Never throw Parmigiano rinds away. Just put them in the freezer to add to soups and sauces. If you buy grated Parmigiano and do not have rinds, you can often find them where Parmigiano is sold by the piece.
This recipe works very well with canned beans, for a quick and easy recipe. Salt is intentionally missing from this recipe because pancetta, canned beans, prepared stock, and Parmigiano are all salty elements. Once the soup is done, taste and add salt if needed. When I am scratching my head wondering what to cook for lunch, this is one of my “go to” recipes. Soft Breadsticks, corn muffins or a chunk of homemade bread – all nice accompaniments to an already satisfying bowl of soup.
White Bean and Cabbage Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4-5 cups chicken stock or broth – adjust to the consistency you like
- 1 or 2 small pieces of Parmigiano rind
- 1 can (19 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans (I use Cento brand), rinsed and drained
- ½ head (about 4 cups) finely cut Savoy cabbage
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Mixed fresh herbs – parsley oregano, marjoram is a nice combination
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil and grated Parmigiano cheese for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. If you are using pancetta, sauté it in the pot first before adding any oil. You will need less oil or none at all because pancetta can be quite fatty.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. You can add a little olive oil if necessary. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomato paste and cook another 2-3, minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the stock and the Parmigiano rinds. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add the rinsed and drained beans, cabbage and black pepper and simmer together until cabbage is cooked to your liking.
- Stir in fresh herbs, taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve individual dishes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.