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2 or 3 leaves fresh sage
1 or 2 cloves fresh garlic
2 or 3 medium sized onions
8 medium sized carrots
1/2 bunch celery
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 lb. each, cleaned fresh spinach and swiss chard--also optional if in season: 1/2 lb. of cleaned head cabbage
2 pts. vegetable broth
2 lb. dried cannellini beans
1-1/2 lb. fresh or canned peeled tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
Soak the cannellini beans overnight. The next day, cook the beans in water to cover, 1/2 tablespoon of the salt, sage and garlic for about one hour. Coarsely chop the onions, celery, and carrots; fry in abundant olive oil for 10-15 min. Add the zucchini and vegetable broth, cover, and bring to a simmer. Then add swiss chard, spinach, cleaned cabbage if available, tomatoes, and let simmer on a low flame for about an hour. Once the beans are cooked and soft, add them to the soup together with their cooking water, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. At this point the soup should be left to cook over a slow flame for at least another hour, remembering to stir constantly to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Serve over thin slices of toasted day-old Tuscan-style bread; garnish with fresh onions and extra vergine olive oil. Serves 8-10 people.
Suggested wine pairing: Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva
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