The lovely and amazing Chef Lisa Dahl, of Dahl & Di Luca in Sedona, graciously provided this recipe. Zuppa Minestra Di Fagioli, from her new book The Elixir of Life.  Enjoy!


  • 2 pounds dried cannellini beans
  • 14 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ham hock
  • Approximately 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups carrot, cut in quarters lengthwise and diced in approximately 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups celery, cut in half lengthwise and diced in approximately 1/2-inch pieces.
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • Half of one medium-sized cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Marvelous Marinara or a good quality marinara (scroll down farther for recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 rosemary sprig

Cover washed beans in water, enough to cover by at least 2 to 3 inches and cover the ham hock, if used. Add the bay leaves and bring to a high boil. Lower to light boil and continuously skim the bean foam until it no longer rises to the top. Cover the pot with a lid cocked at a slight angle to allow steam to escape, and cook, checking from time to time to make sure there is enough water. Have extra water on hand to keep a cover of 2 inches.

Meanwhile, cover the bottom of a skillet with sufficient extra virgin olive oil (approximately half cup) to begin sautéing the carrots. Sauté over a low flame for a few minutes until the carrots begin to soften slightly, and then add celery and onions, making a colorful mirepoix.

When the vegetables begin to turn golden, add the minced garlic and sauté a few moments more, being careful not to let the vegetables burn. Take the vegetables out of pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside in a bowl, leaving the residual oil in the pan. To that oil add the chopped cabbage and braise it slowly until golden adding more oil as needed, being careful not to burn. When the cabbage is soft and golden, turn off the heat and add the sautéed carrots, celery, onions, and garlic to the cabbage. Save for later use.

When the beans are beginning to become really soft and tender but still perfectly intact, remove and discard bay leaves and ham hocks. If you want the ham hock meat back in the soup, tear it from the bones and return it to the pot. It is delizioso!

Now, scoop out approximately half the beans and place them in a colander (over a bowl so you do not waste the broth). Pour the beans into the bowl of a food processor or hand-mash them to a puree. Add the bean puree and any escaped broth back into the simmering beans. Add the marinara sauce and sautéed vegetables. Add all the spices except the rosemary sprig. Cook the soup slowly, checking for flavor and color, as it comes into its own. Add more seasoning as desired. Drop the rosemary sprig into the soup for one minute and remove. Drizzle the remaining extra virgin olive oil- whatever was not used for sautéing, into the soup. Cook slowly until flavor is perfect, rustic, rich and fragrant.

Marvelous Marinara – The Mother Sauce

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped Bermuda onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil coarsely chopped
  • One 28-ounce can top quality Italian or Cal-Ital tomatoes with sauce (I use San Marzano brand)
  • 2 1/2 cups water

Place the red peppers in a food processor and pulse to achieve a coarse chunky dice. Remove (no need to clean the bowl) and add onion and pulse to the same consistency. It is important to stop the dice before vegetables become watery. Scrape the onions into the bowl with the peppers. Texture of both should be consistent in size so they will cook at the same rate.

Pour the olive oil into a stockpot and heat it until it is smoking. One way to test whether it’s hot enough is to drop a bit of the vegetables into oil. They should really sizzle. Be careful not to let oil splatter on your face or eyes (it happens to me more times than I want to admit!) Allow the sauté process enough time to caramelize the peppers and onions before adding the garlic. As the golden rustic color of the vegetables stains the oil, the garlic can be stirred in and the flame lowered to prevent burning the garlic. As it takes on a caramel color, stir in the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and fresh basil and allow the mixture to bubble gently, watching for the color of oil to become a rusty color.

Have sauce can open and ready to pour into stock pot. You want to hear a sizzle when adding thickened sauce. You will need to adjust heat and stir constantly while sauce and vegetable mixture marry together. Reduce heat and simmer long enough to allow drops of oil to resurface and the bright red color of the sauce to deepen.

Add the water a little at a time leaving 1/2 cup (of the 2 1/2 cups) left behind for possible thinning. Let simmer as long as time allows- a minimum of two hours. Check seasoning for salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. I always like to add a little additional olive oil towards the end to impart a deep rich flavor. Whether you thin with the balance of water (or just a splash more) or not will depend on the intended use for the sauce. One might desire a little thicker sauce for an eggplant Parmigiano –Reggiano than a Bolognese sauce, for example. Buon Appetito!

About Savory Choice Broths

The Soup of the Week is brought to you by Savory Creations and their Savory Choice products. When you don’t have time to make your own stock, Into the Soup recommends Savory Choice. It’s our broth of choice. Find it in your local grocery store or buy online by CLICKING HERE