1 small fennel bulb (sometimes called anise)
1/4 lb sliced pancetta, chopped
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 small cabbage, cored and chopped (2 cups)
1 (2-inch) piece of rind cut from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
2 small yellow summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium boiling potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (not California)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
9 cups water
1 (10-oz) package frozen baby lima beans
1/2 lb haricots verts or other thin green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch
1 (15- to 19-oz) can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
5 oz baby spinach (5 cups)
For Pistou (Pistou meaning:
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz grated parmesan (1/3 cup)
Make soup: Cut fennel stalks flush with bulb, discarding them, and trim off any
tough outer layers from bulb. Chop fennel into 1/2-inch pieces.
Cook pancetta in oil in a 7- to 9-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring
occasionally, until just beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in fennel,
onion, turnip, carrots, and cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until
cabbage is wilted, 5 to 7 minutes. Add cheese rind, squash, potato, thyme
sprigs, bay leaf, salt, and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered,
10 minutes. Add lima beans, green beans, and cannellini and simmer until
vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Discard cheese rind, thyme sprigs, and
bay leaf. Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper.
Make pistou while soup is simmering:
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with salt (or pound with a mortar and pestle).
Blend with basil in a food processor until basil is finely chopped. Add oil and
cheese and purée.
Top servings with a spoonful of
pistou, then stir.
Makes 6 to 8 (makes about 16 cups)