Packed full of beans and vegetables, minestrone warms the soul from the inside, and a steaming bowl of it is perfect to wrap one's hands around on a cold night.
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra, to serve
- 1 leek, well washed and thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-cm pieces
- 200 g chopped tomatoes
- 1 piece parmesan or pecorino cheese rind (optional)
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 400 g can borlotti beans, drained and well rinsed (see Note)
- 6-7 Brussel sprouts, outer leaves removed, quartered
- 200 g risoni
- 4-5 cavolo nero leaves, stalks removed, shredded
- grated pecorino or parmesan, to serve
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.
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes or until light golden.
2. Add the potatoes, tomatoes and cheese rind (if using) and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Season to taste, then stir in the borlotti beans, Brussel sprouts and risoni pasta. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pasta is nicely al dente, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and stir in the cavolo nero, allowing the residual heat of the pan to wilt it.
3. Serve hot with a good swirl of extra-virgin olive oil or chilli oil and a dusting of grated parmesan or pecorino.
• If you prefer to use freshly cooked borlotti beans, soak 2 cups of dried beans overnight. Drain and place in a large saucepan with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 hours or until tender, then drain.
Silvia Colloca shares her Italian family secrets in the brand-new second-season of Cook like an Italian.