Minestrone

This is a soup to make in late spring or early summer when the first young fava beans and peas appear.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz slab bacon
  • 3 leeks, white part only, sliced ( cups)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra to finish
  • 1 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as chives, thyme, and basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ spring cabbage heart, shredded
  • 1 cup shelled fava beans
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas
  • 5 pints chicken stock
  • cup long-grain rice or broken up spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Method

Put the cubed bacon into a large saucepan, place over a moderate heat, and cook until the fat runs. Add the leeks, celery, and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes before adding the tomatoes, parsley, and mixed herbs. Stir the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. (It may be necessary to add a little oil if there is not sufficient bacon fat.) Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the cabbage, fava beans, and peas. Pour the stock over and bring to a boil, then simmer briskly for 10 minutes.

Add the rice or pasta and continue cooking for a further 15 minutes. Stir in extra chopped parsley and herbs, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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