1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 quarts water
One 1/2-inch-thick slice of pancetta
1 pound green cabbage, coarsely chopped (6 cups)
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 large celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 large plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Warm cooked small pasta, such as elbows or shells
Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese and extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
In a large slow cooker, combine the beans and water, cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Add the pancetta, cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaves and cook for 6 hours. Discard the bay leaves. Chop the pancetta and return it to the soup.
Add the zucchini, green beans, tomatoes and tomato paste and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir in the basil and parsley and season the minestrone with salt and pepper.
Spoon the cooked pasta into 8 bowls and ladle the soup on top. Pass grated cheese and olive oil at the table.
The minestrone can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.