Squash and Bean Minestrone with arugula salsa verde
Squash and Bean Minestrone
The recipe should be a rough guide. We don't usually have green beans during butternut squash season so I omit those. I use whatever greens we have on hand (usually kale). You get the picture: don't be too strict!
- 2 smoked ham hocks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 pound dried navy or cannellini (white kidney) beans
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
- 2 small celery stalks with leaves (from celery heart), chopped
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound small pasta (such as tiny shells or pipette)
- 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 2 bunches flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed
- Arugula Salsa Verde (for serving)
Remove meat from ham hocks and cut into large pieces; set meat aside. Place navy beans and ham bones in a large pot; add cold water to cover by 2". Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in another large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add ham hock meat, onion, leeks, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes.
Add squash, green beans, navy beans and soaking liquid, broth, and bones to pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until navy beans are tender, 1 1/2–2 hours.
When soup is almost finished cooking, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and add 1/4 cup parsley and toss to coat.
Discard ham bones. Add spinach and remaining 3/4 cup parsley to soup.
Divide soup among bowls. Add pasta, top with Arugula Salsa Verde, and drizzle with oil.
Arugula Salsa Verde:
- 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped (optional)
- Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 3 cups arugula leaves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Mix tomatoes, lemon zest, garlic, arugula, breadcrumbs, capers, and vinegar in a small bowl. Using a wooden spoon, slowly mix in 3/4 cup oil, then Parmesan. Pour a little oil on surface to keep salsa from discoloring.