Cabbage and Bean Soup -
Minestra di Cappuccia e Fagioli

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 medium head of Savoy cabbage
2 links Italian style fresh sausage
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salt (for meat cleansing-optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 cups or 1 can (16 ounces) cooked kidney OR garbanzo beans
Salt and crushed red pepper to taste

Cut the cabbage in quarters lengthwise and remove the stem ends so the leaves will separate. Wash and place in a colander to drain.

Make cuts to the sausage links about 1 inch apart without cutting all the way through.

In a medium saucepan, cook the sausage link in the olive oil on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onion and saute' for 3 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add the cabbage with 2 cups of water, bring to a fast boil on high heat, then simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the beans and simmer for an additional 40 minutes or until the cabbage has reached the desired tenderness. Serve hot with fresh bread and butter.

We used this kind of soup when our bread started to get hard. We cut the bread in small slices and make a couple of layers at the bottom of the serving bowl, then we poured the boiling soup over the top. We ate it with smashed raw red onions.

The old kitchen had a huge fireplace, and the fire was usually going in the winter, all day from the time we got up until we went to sleep. We started the smaller "pignata" (terracotta pot with wide belly, narrow opening, and 2 handles close together) with the beans cooking in the morning, for what seemed like all day, in short winter days.

Shortly after midday we'd start the larger pignata for the soup and we let it boil by the fire. Then we added more condiments along with the cabbage. Eventually we added the beans and dinner was ready!

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