Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Half-arsed, cobbled together minestrone soup

Pancetta or smoked bacon, chopped small
1 onion
1 celery heart
1 green or yellow pepper
1-2 courgettes, depending on size
1 leek, sliced thin
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
Good slug of garlic
1 bottle of passata
chicken stock cube
black pepper
Spaghetti, broken up small (or other soup pasta)
Can of butter beans, drained
Can of haricot or borlotti beans, drained
Bunch of fresh basil, and another of parsley

Start as usual - render any fat from the bacon, and put the onion in to soften. Follow it with the garlic and all the other veg, chopped into small soup-sized dice.

Let them all cook down together for a good ten minutes, with the lid on, until everything is soft and lovely. Then add the passata, the stock cube, both cans of beans, the pasta, and - most importantly - about two thirds of the bottle the passata came in of boiled water. Wrap the bottle in a towel and use the hot water to get the rest of the tomato out.

Put the lid on and keep an eye on things, but mainly at this point you're just waiting for the pasta to cook, so keep it on a nice low simmer once it's all come to the boil.

Just before serving stir in the freshly chopped herbs and serve with some lovely cheese on top and some good bread.

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