1. In a large pot, combine the 3 tablespoons oil, tomatoes and juice, onion, potato, celery, squash, the 2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, the 3 tablespoons minced parsley, the carrot, cabbage, fresh cranberry beans (reserve canned beans, if using), water, salt, and pepper. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low, cover with the lid askew, and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the beans and vegetables are tender.
2. Add the green beans, zucchini, cauliflower, and pasta cook for 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, the 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary, and the 3 tablespoons chopped parsley if using cooked beans, add them at this point. Continue cooking the soup, uncovered, over medium heat, until the pasta is al dente (it will not remain so, since it soaks in the hot soup, so it is best to undercook it somewhat), about 8 minutes.
3. Serve the soup with abundant freshly grated Parmesan, a dribble of olive oil, and freshly ground pepper.
NOTES: There are infinite variations on the theme of minestrone, which means, literally, "big soup." These reflect regional cooking styles as well as availability of ingredients. In summer, almost any vegetable in season might be used in minestrone, including other summer squash varieties, Swiss chard, peas, fava beans, carrots, and celery. In winter, cabbage, dried beans, and cold-weather vegetables such as cabbages predominate.
If you like, 1 cup dried beans can be substituted for the fresh cranberry beans or canned beans. To use dried cranberry beans, rinse and pick over 1 cup beans, then soak in water to cover for 4 hours or up to overnight. Drain and combine with 1/2 teaspoon salt and water to cover in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam that rises to the top, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer very gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare through Step 2. Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
TO REHEAT: Bring to a simmer over low heat. Proceed with Step 3 to serve.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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