Some soups taste best if they’re allowed to bubble away long and slow, but this soup recipe, with its super-fast cooking time, allows you to preserve the freshness of the vegetables.
There isn’t actually a set recipe for minestrone, the classic Italian soup – its pedigree goes back to the times before the Romans – as it’s usually made using whatever vegetables are in season, but it almost always contains beans, pasta or rice.
I’ve chosen cannellini beans as they are full of flavour, incredibly good for you and one of my favourite pulses.
– 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 red onion, roughly chopped
– 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
– 2 celery stalks, washed and cut into 1cm cubes
– 150g curly Savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
– 1.5 litres hot vegetable stock
– 6 slices of rustic country-style bread
– 1 garlic clove, peeled
– 1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
– 4 tbsp chopped
– Flatleaf parsley
– 100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
– Salt and white pepper, to taste
1. Preheat a griddle pan.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, carrots, celery and cabbage for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, toast the bread on the preheated griddle pan for about 2 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Immediately lightly rub with the clove of garlic on one side only. Set aside.
4. Reduce the heat under the saucepan to medium and add the beans and parsley to the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes.
5. To serve, place a slice of bread in each serving bowl and pour over the soup. Sprinkle over some Parmesan and serve immediately.
Gino D’Acampo is one of the UK’s most popular TV chefs and the Author of many cookbooks including, La Dolce Diet and Italian Home Baking.
Pronto! will solve your dinner dilemmas with 130 delicious and quick dishes that will inspire you to leave behind the same dull, after-work meals. With recipes organised by ingredients you can easily find a dish using what you have in the cupboard or fridge.
Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo is published by Kyle Books. Photography by Matt Russell.