This minestrone is made all year round with fresh seasonal legumes instead of dried. In winter, it might also be made with pumpkin and potato.
- 2 tomatoes
- 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 150 g (5½ oz) pancetta or streaky bacon, finely chopped
- 4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 6 Dutch carrots, sliced into 1.5 cm (½ in) thick rounds
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1.5 cm (½ in) dice
- ½ fennel bulb, cut into 1.5 cm (½ in) dice
- 4 marjoram or oregano sprigs
- 1 strip of lemon peel, white pith removed
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
- 100 g (3½ oz) runner (flat) beans, trimmed and cut into 4 cm (1½ in) lengths
- 80 g (2¾ oz/½ cup) frozen peas
- 100 g (3½ oz) frozen broad (fava) beans, thawed and double-podded
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ bunch chives, finely snipped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Using a sharp knife, score a cross in the base of the tomatoes. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the tomatoes for 2 minutes or until the skins start to curl away from the flesh. Immediately drain and plunge into iced water, then peel away the skins and cut the flesh into quarters. Remove and discard the seeds, then cut the quarters in half and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 4–5 minutes, until golden brown, then add the spring onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes, until the spring onion has softened. Add the chopped tomato and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium–low and add the carrot, celery, fennel, marjoram or oregano, lemon peel and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft but not caramelised.
- Pour in the stock, cover with a lid and increase the heat to high. Remove the lid as soon as the mixture starts to boil and add the beans, peas and broad beans. Simmer for 4–6 minutes, until the beans are cooked through, then remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the minestrone into serving bowls and serve, garnished with the chives.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99