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ITALIAN MINESTRA 
10 c. water or low sodium chicken broth
7 large cloves garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. salt pork, or pancetta, chopped
2 to 3 sprigs parsley, cut
1/2 lb. sopressatto, proscuitto, 2 chicken legs, and 2 Italian sausages
(or use any combination of a prosciutto bone or ham bone or 2 chicken legs and two Italian sausages, sliced)
1-2 heads escarole
1/2 pound linguine or other pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pepper
1/2 c. cooked or frozen Great Northern or limas or cannellini beans
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
pinch of hot red pepper flakes

Fry out chopped salt pork in olive oil. Add thickly sliced garlic, parsley or flakes, and basil and chopped meat or brown whole chicken legs if using chicken. When meat begins to color, add water to cover and reduce heat to simmer. Leave on back burner or in Crock-pot for several hours over very low heat. In a few hours, taste and adjust seasoning.

Add water as needed during cooking to keep meat in broth. A half hour before soup is done, boil 1/2 pound pasta in a separate pot of well salted water. When pasta is boiling, add uncooked (well-washed) greens directly to soup and simmer an additional 15 minutes, then turn off heat.

Serve with bruschetta drizzled with a good quality olive oil, that has been sprinkled with coarse salt, chopped black olives, and slivered Parmesan, Romano, or provolone cheese.

This recipe may be varied by substituting linguica for the prosciutto or sausage, and kale for the escarole. Or you may also substitute chicken and sausage for the meat, collards for the escarole, and black-eye peas for the cannellini beans.

Submitted by: CM
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