This soup reminds me so much of my childhood! It is my absolute favorite! Five minutes after starting the stock, the intense aroma from the prosciutto permeates the air, and immediately I’m six years-old sitting at my Grandparent’s kitchen table again!
My Grandma Emma prepared this soup often and always called it “Minestrone”, which it technically is because translated, it means thick vegetable soup. However, I’ve always associated minestrone with the Americanized tomato-based veggie soup. So I took it upon myself to rename it Abruzzi Soup. My Grandfather, Mariano (Mario or Mutt to those who knew him well 😉 was from Introdacqua, a village in the Abruzzi region of Italy. Hence the name Abruzzi Soup!
Give this soup a try and I’m sure you will add it to your repertoire of favorites!
1 Prosciutto Bone (end)
4 carrots (2 chopped, 2 whole)
4 Celery stalks (2 chopped, 2 whole)
1 whole onion
Water to cover veggies
1 1/2 Cups Carolina Rice
1 Head escarole
2 Cups Shell Beans (any bean will work but my Grandma always used shell and they give a distinct flavor)
4 Cloves of garlic sliced
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste (be aware that the prosciutto will make the stock salty enough, no need to add to the veggie layers.)
Grated or shaved Romano or Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
In a large pot or Crock Pot, add the prosciutto end, two whole stalks of celery, two whole carrots, and an onion. Fill pot with water to cover the veggies and prosciutto. Cover and let simmer for at least 2-3 hours or four hours in Crock-Pot. Pull veggies out and discard. Skim fat from top of stock and use for sauteing the veggies. Remove all the meat from the prosciutto bone and set aside.
Prepare rice according to package instructions, and set aside.
Add some of the rendered prosciutto fat or a few TBS’s of an oil of your choice to a saute pan and cook the remaining chopped carrots, celery, and shell beans until tender. Add mixture to the stock. Using the same saute pan, add a bit more prosciutto fat or a few TBS’s of an oil of your choice. Add 4 sliced cloves of garlic, and cook until fragrant and beginning to brown. Add chopped escarole, and cook until slightly wilted. Add this mixture to the stock, as well as the rice and prosciutto. Simmer for an hour to let all the flavors combine.
Sara Stewart~Fresh Foodie Mama~