minestrone soup

Kosher salt
10 cups chicken stock
8 garlic cloves, whacked with the side of a large knife
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ pound small rigatoni
Olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves
1 spring fresh rosemary
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
¾ pound bulk pork sausage
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 can s (28 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained
½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
Juice of ½ lemon
Coarsely ground black pepper
12 baguette slices
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the rigatoni.
Combine the broth and the smashed garlic cloves in a big saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes to give the stock a nice garlicky taste. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.
Cook the rigatoni in the boiling salted water for 6 minutes; it should be slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, pour ¼ cup olive oil into another big saucepan. Add the sage and rosemary and warm over medium heat to infuse it with the flavor of the herbs, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the herbs. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and the chopped garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Dump that out into a bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan, then the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with the side of a big spoon, until well browned. Return the vegetables to the pan along with the drained tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Now add the beans, parsley, bay leaf, lemon juice, broth, and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked rigatoni. Discard the bay leaf.
To serve, preheat the broiler. Put the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with the softened butter. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and float a couple of croutons on top of each serving.


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