- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 lb pancetta, sliced and chopped small
- 1 medium leeks, white and green parts, chopped
- 1 small fennel, fresh; bulb chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
- 1 bay leaf, dried
- 1/2 tsp paprika, smoked
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups peas, green, dried; cooked according to package instructions
- 2 cups zucchini, diced in 1/2" pieces
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper, black
- 1/2 cup basil, torn up with your hands, as garnish
- parmesan cheese, shaved, as topping
- In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil at medium heat. Add chopped pancetta and cook for about 3-4 minutes or when it starts to brown. Lower heat to medium-low.
- Add the cut leek and the fennel and stir to combine; saute for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and smoked paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the water and the peas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 10
- Add the zucchini and spinach. Stir in the baking powder, it will keep the green vegetable looking bright green. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
- Remove bay leaf.
- To serve, portion the minestra into 6 bowls and top each with basil and shaved parmesan.