There is nothing better on a cold winters day than a nice, hot bowl of authentic minestrone. It's a very forgiving and versatile dish, you can adapt the vegetables to suit seasons, preferences, occasion or just simply what you have in the fridge. For the winter version of minestrone, I personally tend to just change the pulses and the green leafy vegetables.
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 celery stalks, slices
2 large carrots, roughly cubed
150g cubed pancetta, optional
2x 400g plum tomato tins
270g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and cooked
400g cavolo nero, or swiss chard, curly kale
1 organic chicken stock cube
100g spaghetti, snapped in small pieces
grated parmesan cheese
1) In a heavy based pan, on a medium heat, add 3tbsps of olive oil and add the cubed pancetta. Fry the pancetta until crisp and golden and immediately add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Add a pinch of salt so the onions don't brown and cover with a lid and leave to cook for 25mins, on a low heat.
2) Add the plum tomatoes and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir well and leave to cook for a further 10mins. Slice the stalks of the basil and add to the pan.
3) Pour in 700ml of boiling water and crumble in the stock cube. Check the seasoning again.
4) Slice the cavolo nero and add to the pan. Followed by the cannellini beans and stir well. Leave to cook on a medium low heat for 5mins.
5) Add the broken pieces of spaghetti and leave to cook for a further 10mins.
6) Grate over a little parmesan and add a generous amount of torn basil leaves.
7) Serve with a nice crusty bread and more parmesan to serve at the table.
*Cooks Tip: Never throw away parmesan rind. For a dish such as this, you can add it to the cooking process and take it out at the end. Once you grate the parmesan as much as you can, store the rind in the fridge and it keeps for months.
Posted by Luna's Recipes at 13:29