Finely chop the lardo or bacon with the garlic and onion rings and put the mixture into a bowl. Add the parsley and celery, mix well, and transfer to a pan. Add the borlotti beans, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, sage, and basil. Pour in 8 ¾ cups water, season with salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Add the peas and cabbage, re-cover the pan, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 15-18 minutes, until the rice in tender. The minestrone must be fairly thick. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the olive oil, and let cool. Serve cold with plenty of grated cheese.
Note: The typical Milanese minestrone is served cold in summer. It should be cooled at room temperature (never in the refrigerator) in individual bowls lined with slices of bacon and covered with a napkin.
Preparation time: 1 ¾ hours (including cooling)
Cooking time: 1 ½ hours
Serves 4 -6
Reprinted with permission from © Recipes from an Italian Summer, by the editors at Phaidon Press, published by Phaidon click for book review
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