Minestrone soup with legumes and bacon
This winter soup is super quick to make as the legumes are already cooked. A great addition for the soup is pesto or thinly sliced prosciutto folded through.
Serve with crusty bread rubbed with garlic, sea salt and lashings of extra virgin olive oil. Photo: William Meppem
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2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
60g smoky bacon, finely diced
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 leek, white part only, washed and diced
4 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
25g shredded silverbeet, leaves and stalks
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 fresh bay leaf
2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 litre chicken stock
100g cannellini beans, cooked
100g chickpeas, cooked
1 cup orzo pasta, cooked
freshly ground pepper
parmesan, to serve
Heat the oil on medium-low in a deep heavy-based pan and sweat the smoky bacon until it releases its fat. Add the onion, garlic, leek, celery, carrot and salt and sweat over low heat for 8 minutes, without colouring. Add tomato paste and silverbeet and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley and stock. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 1 hour. Add the cooked cannellini beans, chickpeas and pasta for a further 3 minutes to heat through.
Check the seasoning, adding more salt, if necessary, and freshly ground pepper.
Remove the bay leaf before serving. Spoon the soup into four bowls and add a fresh grind of pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to each. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.
Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.