One of the yummy blogs that I follow, Proud Italian Cook, has an annual Festa Italiana where a virtual gathering of Italian food takes place. I am participating with this recipe. Just imagine yourself in Italy with all kinds of delicious things to eat... and drink ;) To my friends here in the boot--- come on and join me for this event!
1 loaf crusty bread, cubed
1 Lb. dried Borlotti beans (for those in the States, you could use a dry red bean, like kidney)
1/4 cup evoo
8 sage leaves
8 Tbsp chopped rosemary
1/4 Tsp red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
3 oz prosciutto, diced (you can use smoked ham)
1 Lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
8 cups beef broth (I ended up adding a little more than this after an hour of cooking)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 Lb. savoy cabbage, chopped
2 bay leaves
*Place the beans in a large pot covering them with water. Let them sit overnight! Drain them before cooking.
In a large pot, combine olive oil, sage, rosemary, pepper flakes, garlic, onion and prosciutto. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Add the beans, broth, wine, cabbage, bay leaves and salt to taste. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Check to see if you need to add more broth. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve the soup with the crusty bread croutons.
-Heat oven to 400 degrees.
-Place cubes on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes (you will think the cubes are over done and too crisp... this is the way they should be! They will soften up when added to the soup!!!)