Wednesday is market day in Spello; unfortunately, since Spello is a very small town, the market here is more flea market than produce market. There are only 2 produce sellers, the rest sell clothing, shoes, and plants.
My guy talks non-stop to the buyers, and is a lovely man. Happy to sell you his wares, and also adding what he thinks you'll need for your meal. Since I was gifted with a few zucchini and an onion from a friend, I wanted to make a minestrone. That necessitated a few more ingredients from the frutivendolo. As I was making my purchases he asked if I wanted the black celery from Trevi a nearby town that has a DOP (denomination of protected origin) designation for its special celery---it is aromatic and delicious, so of course I chose it, after that he was putting extra carrots and parsley and onions into my bags. The celery isn't actually black, they cover the root end, and the chlorophyll goes to the leaves, which turn a very dark green. There is an annual festival in Trevi celebrating the sedano nero.
|Here pepperoni is the vegetable, not the meat on a pizza|
|Golden delicious apples from the north|
|Gala apples from the north|
|Really new potatoes|
MinestroneServes an army
Let me just say that you can sub in your favorite vegetables here, I usually use escarole, but the heads he had were as big as my head, and I didn't need that much, so I picked up some spinach instead. Pancetta is also optional, perfectly acceptable to leave it out. Minestrone means without stock but I used chicken for this one. You can use water if you prefer, the fresher the vegetables the better your soup will be.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
one 1/4-inch piece pancetta finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (today I'm using the DOP cippolini from Cannara)
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery with leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced zucchini
1/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup small lentils
salt and pepper
|Lining up the ingredients|
- In a Dutch oven heat the oil, and saute the pancetta until it is almost crisp. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.
- Add the broth, spinach beans, zucchini, barley and lentils and simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the barley and lentils are softened.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
|Bubbling on the stove top|