BIG TONI’S ITALIAN KITCHEN

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.

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

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  •     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 

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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 

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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.)

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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 

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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.