As a young man shopping in Boston's North End, a historically Italian neighborhood, chef Peter Pastan would watch customers at his local Italian market ask for the prosciutto skin. He had no idea what they did with it. Today he cures his own meats at his restaurants, then uses prosciutto skin to flavor and thicken soups like this tomatoey fresh shell bean soup. While the skin is optional here, it's easy to obtain—sometimes for free—from delis and meat counters. Plus: More Soup Recipes and Tips
Any combination of fresh shell beans can be used. Cooking time will vary according to the variety of bean.
Pastan's fresh, lightly earthy shell bean soup pairs well with Pinot Noir, which often has a similarly earthy character. Sashi Moorman's Evening Land Vineyards makes a range of terrific Pinots. Another good choice is the lively, ruby-colored Samsara Melville Vineyard Pinto Noir.