Soups

Wintery summer calls for Minestrone

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It may be summer but in Ireland, that doesn’t always mean warm weather. Routines have gone out the window so, with the Teen arriving in late from work, I wanted to have dinner ready to be heated.

I know it’s traditionally a winter dish but a pot of home made Minestrone fit the bill. Full of vegetables with a hint of smoked bacon, it’s delicious – especially, with a good sprinkle of cheese melting on top. As it’s summer, I chose to use baby spinach leaves rather than finely shredded white cabbage which I would use when in season.

Ingredients
(Serves 4)
7 ounces cannellini beans, soaked overnight and pre-cooked before use (or a tin of cannellini beans)
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
4 streaky smoked bacon rashers, rind removed and cut into thin strips
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
3 ounces baby spinach leaves
3 ounces dried spaghetti, broken in bits
1 tin tomatoes in own juice
1½ pints good quality chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method
1. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan
2. Fry the onion for a few minutes before adding the bacon, garlic and celery
3. Cook together for about 10 minutes until carmelised
4. Add the carrots, potato, seasoning and herbs
5. Add the tin of tomatoes and stock
6. Simmer for above 15 minutes
7. Add cannellini beans, pasta and spinach
8. Cook for another 15-20 minutes
9. Serve in bowls – on its own, sprinkled with cheese or with a chunk of fresh bread.

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