Fabio Viviani's "Whatever Is Available Soup" (Minestrone)
For the fondo: • 1 cup cannellini or borlotti beans, dried
• 1 cup potatoes, diced • Salt and pepper • ¼ cup olive oil • 1 cup onion, diced • ½ cup red onion, diced • 1 cup carrots, diced • 1 cup celery, diced • ½ cup fennel, diced • 1 cup zucchini, diced
For the soup: • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 1 bunch each: chard, kale, or Tuscan cabbage, collard greens, spinach, stem ends removed, all roughly chopped • 1 cup Fabio's Tomato Sauce (see recipe below) • 5 cups vegetable stock (see recipe below) • 1 cup any small pasta • Parmesan cheese, grated • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Place all the fondo ingredients into a tall stockpot over medium heat and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the garlic and keep cooking on low for another 5 minutes. By now the beans should be wrinkled and the potatoes barely cooked. Add all the greens and cook until they have lost their moisture and are completely wilted.
Now add the tomato sauce, stirring to coat the vegetables completely. Add 4 cups of the stock, reduce by ⅓ over high heat, then add the pasta. If the soup looks too thick, add the rest of the stock.
When the pasta is cooked, pour the soup into bowls and top with grated Parmesan and extra-virgin olive oil.
Fabio's Vegetable Stock Makes 1 gallon
Ingredients: • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
• 2 onions, roughly chopped • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped • 1 shallot, roughly chopped • 4 tomatoes, cut in half • 6 tbsp. olive oil • 1 bunch parsley • 2 tbsp. salt • ½ tbsp. whole black peppercorns • 2 gallons water
Preheat the oven to 400⁰F.
Put the carrots, onions, celery, shallots and tomatoes in a roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to a large stockpot and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Turn the heat to high and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add the parsley, salt, peppercorns, and 2 gallons of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 1-2 hours.
Fabio's Tomato Sauce With Oil And Garlic (makes 2 cups)
Ingredients: • 6 cloves garlic
• 8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil • 1 28-oz can of whole plum tomatoes (packed only in tomato juice) • Salt and pepper • 10 basil leaves
Smash the garlic with the back of a knife. Place the garlic and 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown. Add the tomatoes and generous pinches of salt and pepper.
Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce is thick and no longer watery, about 10-15 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and turn the heat to high. Stir, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until the oil turns red, then turn off the heat and the basil at the very end.
Tuscan Bread (makes 1 loaf)
For the starter: • 1 oz. fresh compressed yeast or 2 packages active dry yeast
• ½ cup water, lukewarm • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. flour • Salt and pepper
For the dough: • 5 cups unbleached flour • 1 ¾ cups water, lukewarm
Prepare the starter: In a glass or ceramic bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the flour and the salt, mix well with a wooden spoon, add the pepper, and let rest 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Cover the bowl with a cotton towel and let it rest in a warm place for about an hours, until the starter has doubled in size (the top flour will disappear).
When the starter is ready, place it into a stand mixer with the hook attachment and add 4 cups of the flour and half of the water. When it is all incorporated, add the remaining water, mix it in, and use the remaining flour to detach the dough from the bowl and dust your hands and a work surface. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands, in a folding motion, for 5 minutes.
Shape the loaf in the way you like it. Traditionally, it is round, but you can do a football shape, too. Mark the top with a knife, making a few incisions less than ¼ inch deep. Wrap the dough in a towel and let it rest in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about an hour). While it is rising, preheat the oven to 400⁰F (or 375⁰F if using a convection oven).
When the dough is ready, quickly unfold the towel and place the dough directly onto a baking sheet and into the oven. Bake the bread for about 55 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you tap the crust. Do not open the oven for the first 30 minutes of baking time.
Let the bread cool on a rack before serving.
For More Information On Fabio, And His Newsletter "Fabio’s Kitchen Academy, " visit his website
Fabio's New Cookbook, "Fabio’s Italian Kitchen," is available on