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Minestrone soup from The Cafe

As featured on Monday the 27th of May's Show


1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 courgette
1 small leek
1 large potato
1 tin of cannellini beans
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
½ tsp dried oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tins of plum tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
1 large handful of seasonal greens, savoy cabbage, curly kale, chard
100g pasta
½ a bunch of fresh basil
Parmesan cheese


Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Trim and roughly chop the carrots, celery and courgette, then add the vegetables to a large bowl. Cut the ends off the leek, quarter it lengthways, wash it under running water, then cut into 1cm slices. Add to the bowl. Scrub and dice the potato. Drain the cannellini beans, then set aside. Finely slice the bacon.
Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry gently for 2 minutes, or until golden. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, courgette, leek, oregano and bay and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.
Add the potato, cannellini beans and plum tomatoes, then pour in the vegetable stock. Stir well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through.
Remove and discard any tough stalks bits from the greens, then roughly chop. Using a rolling pin, bash the pasta into pieces while it’s still in the packet or wrap in a clean tea towel. Add the greens and pasta to the pan, and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add a splash more stock or water to loosen, if needed. Pick over the basil leaves and stir through. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then serve with a grating of Parmesan.