This is a soup to make in late spring or early summer when the first young fava beans and peas appear.
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.
© 1999 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.