May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Friday, February 6, 2009

Summer Minestrone

This soup is so easy and is more of a master recipe you can use as a basis for whatever's in the pantry. I make it a lot in winter using things like cavolo nero (black kale) and savoy cabbage. This year hopefully I'll have some dried borlotti leftover from our own crop. In summer though...

500g of dried borlotti or cannellini beans

2 tbs olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
100g pancetta (optional), thinly sliced and then roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large handful of green beans, chopped in to 1cm lengths
4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 litres of either water or stock OR 1 part white wine to 3 parts water.
1 bay leaf
1 parmesan rind (Optional. I freeze them when I finish a block of parmesan for this purpose)
Small pasta such as ditalini
Grated parmesan and olive oil to serve

Soak the dried beans in cold water overnight. Rinse and drain them, and boil them in fresh water for about an hour or until tender. Set aside.

In a stockpot or large casserole, gently fry the chopped onion, pancetta, celery, carrot and garlic until soft but not brown. 

Add the chopped zucchini and green beans and cook until softened.

Add the chopped tomatoes, cook for about a minute, then add the stock or water, the bay leaf and the parmesan rind if you have one - it really does make the soup delicious! Simmer for 10 minutes, add the pasta and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, and serve with grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. I like it with a drizzle of chilli oil. Yum.

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