warming minestrone

warming minestrone

Minestrone is a guaranteed winner – everyone enjoys this wonderful, classic soup. To get the best of the vegetable flavours, sauté them in oil in the order given, which makes them truly luscious. The recipe suggests simmering the soup for 20 minutes, but some classic Italian cooks suggest 2 hours; the choice is yours!

Serves 5–6


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 175 g (6 oz) French beans, trimmed and cut into 1 cm (½ in) pieces
  • 50 g (2 oz) cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ x 400 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1.4 litres (2½ pints) vegetable or chicken stock or canned broth
  • 400 g (14 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 75 g (3 oz) small pasta such as orzo
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)


Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the French beans and cook for 2 more minutes. Finally, add the cabbage with the basil and oregano, and salt and pepper to taste, then cook for 2 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans and pasta and cook for about 10 minutes, until the pasta and vegetables are tender. Adjust the seasoning, if required. Serve in bowls with the Parmesan cheese, if using.