This is a great Italian soup recipe called Manasta. My Aunt Lena used to make it and I loved it. I don’t think there are any living family members who have the recipe so I am making it from my memory of watching my Aunt over 50 years ago.
You can use any kind of meat you have left over, in this case I am using left over ham bone and chunks of ham. I don’t measure anything so this is one of my unrecipes, just season to your own taste.
Chunks of ham
Bacon or bacon bits
Northern Beans (white)
Dice up celery, onions and garlic and put in a large soup pot with some olive oil and let cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Then in the same pot start your broth with more olive oil, beef broth, and ham bone. Turn on high and add enough water to cover ham bone completely. Let this come to a boil while you wash and cut up potatoes and carrots. I use baby carrots so I don’t have to peel them, I do cut them in half to make them go farther. I also use red potatoes and leave the skin on. Cut potatoes into small cubes.
Add the potatoes and carrots to broth and also add one bay leaf. Sprinkle some bacon bits, dill weed and basil in the broth and stir. Turn heat down to medium and let cook until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.
Meanwhile you can be dicing up ham and set aside till later. You can also wash your spinach leafs and cut up the fennel. Cut the fennel into one inch chunks.
When the potatoes and carrots are almost ready add your Northern Beans, I use canned beans and drain the liquid off. If you use dry beans you will have to rinse them and soak for several hours before using them.
Next add the fennel, ham and parsley. Remove ham bone and bay leaf from soup and stir well. You can scrape any usable ham chunks from bone into the soup. The last thing to go in the pot will be the spinach. You just want the spinach to cook long enough to shrink up and wilt.
Serve with garlic bread, the soup is a meal in itself…enjoy!