Toni’s Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup, my father would order this when ever we went to an Italian restaurant, he loved it. And he got his 5 a-day in one bowl. A good  minestrone is like a trip to the gym for your insides full of robust leaves, antioxidants and vitamins. its not expensive to make and one pot can feed a whole family. Great for cold wet evenings in front of the TV and log burner.

For 4 people you will need: Why not make it for 8 just double the amounts

  •     3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  •     1 leek, thinly sliced
  •     1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  •     1 small carrot, sliced
  •     1 celery stick, sliced
  •     1 chunk of parmesan cheese crust 
  •     2 potatoes
  •     1 small handful of diced pancetta, speck or even bacon
  •     2 tins of fresh borlotti beans )
  •     1 tin  of Italian tomatoes
  •     4-5 large cavolo nero leaves, shredded
  •     3/4 of small pasta (or small soup pasta)
  •     Extra-virgin olive oil 

How to make:

Sauté’ the sliced and chopped vegetables in the olive oil in a large saucepan or cast iron casserole. Add the pancetta and cheese crust 

Add the potatoes and the beans, the tomatoes, potatoes and cover with water. Bring to low boil, turn down heat to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the beans are tender. (if you are using tinned beans, add them 20 minutes into cooking.)

Add salt and pepper (only salt the beans after they are cooked, or they go tough)

Add a handful of the shredded cavolo nero and 3/4 cup pasta 

Cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pasta is nicely al dente. Turn off the heat.

Serve hot with good extra-virgin olive oil or some chillies oil and a hunk of fresh bread.

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Five reasons to eat five portions of fruit and veg. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium. They're an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems.