Cookbook author Stacy Adimando contributed this hearty recipe for the classic Italian soup. She recommends using Mutti tomatoes and tomato paste for an authentic and fresh tomato base. Follow along in the video above as Adimando adds the vegetables in a certain order to build a deep and rich flavor.
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnishing
- 2 (1/8-inch) slices pancetta, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1 Pound cauliflower florets and delicate leaves, broken into small pieces
- 14 Ounces canned finely chopped tomatoes
- 7 Cups water
- 1 large piece of Parmigiano Reggiano rind, plus plenty of freshly grated cheese for serving
- 1/2 Pound white potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 1 medium zucchini, half of the skin peeled and discarded, flesh cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 Cup chopped savoy or Napa cabbage
- 1/2 Cup shelled fresh or frozen sweet peas
- 2 Cups packed baby spinach
- 1/2 Cup orecchiette, ditalini or other small dried macaroni
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large saucepot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook about 6 minutes or until crispy and well browned, stirring frequently. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and a little black pepper to the same pot with the pancetta fat and olive oil and cook about 3 minutes, or until onion is softened slightly and fragrant (but not browned), stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste until incorporated. Add the carrots and cook about 3 minutes or until the tomato paste darkens slightly and the carrots soften ever so slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cauliflower, tomatoes, water, and the Parmigiano Reggiano rind and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the potatoes and season with an additional ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 8 minutes or until the potato is tender but not mushy.
Add the zucchini and cabbage and cook about 3 minutes, until softened but not soggy. Stir in the pasta and cook about 9 minutes, until just tender, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a little more water to adjust the consistency (but soup should be chunky and not too brothy; too much water will dilute the flavor).
Stir in the peas and spinach and cook about 2 minutes. Taste and season as desired with additional salt and pepper.
To serve, remove the cheese rind from the pot and discard. Divide the soup among shallow serving bowls. Garnish generously with extra-virgin olive oil and top with the reserved pancetta crumbles, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh basil leaves, and freshly grated black pepper.