1 pound dried white beans (rinsed and picked over)

1 ham hock (smoked turkey or chicken bones can be use)

5 quarts water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup prosciutto or smoked sausage, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped (optional, leeks can be used)

1 small head Savoy cabbage (regular cabbage can be used)

3 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

Salt to taste

1/4 cup cornmeal (optional)

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Place beans, ham bone, and water in a stockpot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until beans are al dente, about 1 1/2 hours.  Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add prosciutto, onion, carrots, and fennel.  Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Add cabbage and spices to the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the vegetables to the stockpot and simmer for 30 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.  Add cornmeal to thicken, if desired.  Serve hot, topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese grated on top.  Serves 8.