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Minestrone Soup

This is a very easy recipe and was shown it by my Italian friend, Silvana, who is the best cook

that I have met. She used to look after our oldest child, Sian, when I worked. Every night I used to call round and hang around her kitchen watching what she was doing and asking questions. She is quite old now and cooks less but I still watch everything she makes with enthusiasm.

About 1 litre chicken stock [see below]

1 tblsp oil

1 onion chopped

1 carrot diced

1 handful French beans cut into 1 c pieces

1 stick celery sliced

1 potato diced

3 or 4 leaves Savoy cabbage shredded [or try frozen]

1 leek chopped

I tin beans - borlotti, flagelet, cannelini etc

1 handful green lentils washed

1 heaped tbsp tiny pasta shapes eg stelfini [or smashed up spaghetti]

  1. Saute the onion in the oil just to soften it but not brown.
  2. Add the stock and all the other vegetables and bring to the boil.
  3. When boiling, add the beans and lentils and bring back to boil
  4. Bring back to boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes
  5. Add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes. Test to see whether the vegetables are soft enough, paying attention to the lentils.
  6. Serve with finely grated Parmesan sprinkled on top.

About the stock - Fresh chicken stock is best, although you could use a chicken stock cube. Alternatively, if you do not have any fresh, you can make it very easily. Bring 8 chicken wings in a litre of water o the boil with a little salt and a bunch of herbs including thyme, oregano, sage, bay, parsley or rosemary. Turn to a simmer until they are very soft. Take the wings out and dry them and strain the liquor. That is your stock. Fry or grill the wings and serve on a dish with the soup.

Jane Peters

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