Lord: It is time. The summer days were grand.
Now set your shadows out across the sun-dials
And set the winds loose on the meadowland.
Bid the last fruits grow full upon the vine,
do them the good of two more southern days
then thrust them on to their fulfillment, chase
the final sweetness into bodied wine.
Whoever has no house yet will build none,
Whoever is alone will stay alone
And stay up, write long letters out, and go
Through avenues to wander on his own
Uneasily when leaves begin to blow.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Translated by A.Z. Foreman)
And to go with the poem I love so much, here is a autumnal minestrone, to enjoy on one of those short and somewhat dreary fall days we happen to have here. (Though the temperatures are supposed to go up for the weekend, yay!)
Adapted from the minestrone alla romagnola by Marcella Hazan, and this minestrone I found on the Dinner: a Love Story blog.
120g dry cannelini beans (or 400g of the canned variety)
1 bay leave
8 tbsp olive oil30g butter
3 onions, sliced
4 carrots, diced
2 stick celery, diced
2 large fennel bulb, diced
200g potatoes, peeled, cut into small squares
150g shredded Savoy cabbage
150g Swiss chard, chopped into small pieces
1,5l vegetable broth, or bean cooking water (but do not use the liquid that is in the cans, if using canned)
160g canned, whole Italian tomatoes
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional, if you don't already have it at home)
parmesan crust (optional)
parmigiano-reggiano to serve
If using dried cannelini beans: Cover the beans with 3cm of water and let soak over night. In the morning, or before starting your soup, cook them, adding a bay leave, salt and some smoked paprika, until done, for about an hour. Set aside the cooking liquid to use as the broth for this soup.
In a large saucepan, put the olive oil, butter and onion on low-medium heat. Let the onion cook, uncovered, until it becomes soft and fragrant and starts to colour slightly.
Add the carrots, and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure to cover it with the oil. Then add the celery, fennel and potatoes one ingredients at a time, stirring a few minutes before adding the next. Cook for another few minutes after adding the potatoes, add the cabbage, let cook for 5 minutes, then add the broth, the tomatoes, the parmesan crust if using and a little salt. Give the soup a good stir, then cover the pot, turn the heat to low and let the soup cook for as long as you can manage. Marcella Hazan says 2 1/2 hours, I'd say 1 hour should be more than enough to get a least a decent pot of soup. Add the cannelini beans and stir and cook for another 30 minutes.
Just before serving, remove the cheese crust and add freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, about 3 tbsp. Only then taste for salt and add more if necessary. Let the soup cool down a bit before serving.
Serves 6-8 (According to Marcella, but for us two it made just enough to serve for dinner twice)