I’m completely passionate about this soup, I don’t think there’s even enough room on this page for me to describe all the reasons why. Here’s what I do have room to tell you. I make my minestrone nice and thick but do add more water if you don’t. And totally throw in some pasta. This gets better and better as the days pass, so make a big batch. Eat with garlicky toast or stir in stale bread to make a Tuscan Ribollita. It also freezes really well.
Tip: I usually make this with canned beans BUT if you are able to plan in extra time to soak and cook some dried beans, adding their cooking liquid to this soup takes it to whole new dimensions.
Photography: Sam Harris
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
300g cavolo nero or Savoy cabbage (or a mix), stems removed
1 x 225g can plum tomatoes, drained and rinsed
2 x 400g borlotti or cannellini beans (or 1 can of each), drained and rinsed, or 700 g/1 lb 5 oz freshly cooked beans
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Warm the olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a big pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12–15 minutes until the veg is completely soft and sweet.
Meanwhile, bring a deep pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the cavolo until tender, about 5–6 minutes, then take off the heat, drain (I like to roughly chop it with scissors while in the sieve, but keep the water.
Stir the tomatoes into the veg, breaking them up with a spoon, and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the beans (and any cooking water if cooked from fresh) and cook for a further few minutes. Using a hand blender, purée about a quarter of the mix while still in the pan to thicken it up (or remove 3 ladlefuls and blitz in a blender), then return to the pan.
Scoop in the cavolo and pour over enough of its cooking water to just cover the veg. Season, then bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes to unite everything, then turn off the heat. Transfer to bowls and drizzle each portion with plenty of nice extra virgin olive oil. Keeps for a week in the fridge and will just get better and better.
Georgia’s cooking is simple, and it’s exactly what you want when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen but still eat incredibly delicious food. It’s inventive, fun and her cookbook will mean that you’ll pretty much never be out of ideas for lunch again. Extracted from: Let’s Do Lunch: Quick and easy recipes to brighten up your week by Georgia Levy (Pavilion, HarperCollins Publishers). Image by Sam A Harris.