Italian Winter Minestrone

Hearty winter meal, and I love all the simple lovely recipes from Rachel Roddy on Rachel Eats and in her Guardian posts.

  • 500g cavolo nero (one bunch of kale)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 ribs of celery, with a few leaves
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 400g pumpkin/squash flesh [I used ¾-1 lb of butternut squash]
  • 1 potato
  • 400g cooked white beans
    • [I used one can of white beans–draining optional. With soups, I usually drain half and put half the liquid in for the flavor.]
  • 1.5 litres of water or bean broth (or a mix of both) [4-6 cups, depending on how much liquid you want]
  • A parmesan rind (if you have one)
  • A small sprig of sage
  • [I also added a small amount of cooked barley to give a different texture.]
  1. Wash the cavolo nero, strip any particularly thick stems from the leaves and roughly chop, roll the leaves and shred thickly.
  2. Peel and dice the onion and celery for the soffritto. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan and slowly fry the onion, celery and a pinch of salt, until soft, which will take about 8 minutes.
  3. Peel and cut the pumpkin and potato into chunks, then add to the pan along with the cavolo nero stems and a tiny pinch of salt, stirring to prevent sticking, until each chunk glistens with oil. Add half the cavolo nero leaves, half the beans, the water and the parmesan rind.
  4. Raise the heat so the soup nearly boils, and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the rest of the cavolo nero and beans. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed then chop the sage and add it.
  6. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then serve, passing round a bowl of grated parmesan for anyone who wants it.
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