Minestrone with Artichokes, Sausage, and Pistachios

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This soup was inspired by a seventeenth-century Italian recipe for minestrone containing black truffles and artichokes, an idea so appetizing that I decided to develop a simpler recipe, but one as different from the modern minestrones as the old Italian version was. The seventeenth-century soup called for roast partridge and orange as well, but no pasta. Basically, one should feel free to invent one’s own version. Here’s mine.

Ingredients

  • 6 small artichokes
  • ½ pound garlic sausage, mild andouille, or kielbasa
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Japanese eggplants or 1 small regular eggplant, quartered
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 small zucchini, quartered
  • 2 small yellow zucchini, quartered
  • 12 baby green beans, ends trimmed
  • 8 pattypan squash
  • 24 pistachios, shelled, blanched, and peeled
  • 12 leaves marjoram
  • 16 leaves Italian parsley
  • 12 thyme flowers
  • 4 drops truffle oil or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh truffle (optional)

Method

Trim the artichokes and cook until tender in acidulated salted water. Poach the sausage until done, about 15 minutes. Grill or broil the lemon slices for 5 minutes. Roast or grill the red bell pepper; cover for 15 minutes; peel, and cut into thin strips. Season the eggplant pieces and grill or broil until tender, about 10 minutes.

Put the chicken stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the zucchini, green beans, and pattypan squash. Cook for 5 minutes; add the artichokes, sausage, pistachios, lemon, red bell pepper, eggplant, and all the other ingredients. Cook 1 minute, season, and serve.

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