Minestrone soup | The Proof of the Pudding


Right now is a great time of year to be eating kale. Although it’s available all year round in it’s curly variety in most supermarkets, it’s in season between September and February and so at this time of year you might be able to get your mitts on some more interesting varieties. Plus, we’re all trying to be a little virtuous in January, and kale is a vitamin and mineral dense vegetable, packed with Vitamin C, calcium and beta carotene (which no-one really knows what it is, but hey-ho it sounds super healthy). The kale I’ve used in this recipe was grown by my dad at his allotment and is called cavolo nero (“black cabbage” in Italian, where the variety originates). If you can find cavolo nero to use in this recipe then great – it goes perfectly in stews and soups – but if not then use any kale or cabbage that you like.

This recipe is the godsend of all store-cupboard meals. I do think that the combinations below work particularly well, but the beauty is that you can use whatever veggies you have in the vegetable drawer, whatever meat (bacon, sausages, chorizo would all be great) you have in the fridge and any type of beans or pasta shape that you have in the cupboard.

Ingredients (serves 4-6) 100g (about 6 rashers) streaky bacon 1 white onion 2 medium carrots 2 celery sticks 2 garlic cloves 1 tsp tomato puree 1.5l vegetable stock 1 tin or carton of chopped tomato 6-8 large cavolo nero leaves 100g spaghetti 1 tin cannellini beans Olive oil Salt and pepper

Optional topping suggestions: basil pesto, grated parmesan, chopped basil, chopped parsley, croutons