Minestrone

Ingredients:
4 rashers higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
2 red onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 bulb of fennel
½ a bunch of fresh basil
olive oil
125ml red wine
2 courgettes
300g savoy cabbage or chard
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans
800ml organic chicken or vegetable stock
75g dried pasta (shells or odd ends)
extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Method:
Start by making a sofrito – frying off the aromatic ingredients to make the base of your soup. Slice the bacon, peel and finely chop the onions and garlic, then chop the carrots, celery and fennel. Pick the basil leaves and set aside, then finely chop the stalks.

Add a lug of olive oil to a pan and place over a medium heat. Stir in the chopped ingredients and sauté gently (lower the heat if needs be) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until everything is soft but not coloured.

Halve the courgettes lengthways and slice. Core the cabbage or remove the tough stalky bits from the chard, wash the leaves and slice.

Add the wine to the softened veggies and bring to the boil. Tip in the tomatoes and courgettes. Bring back to the boil, and simmer on a low heat for around 15 minutes.

Mix in the cabbage or chard, the beans and their juice and the stock. Bring to the boil, then add the pasta.

Simmer over a medium heat according to the packet instructions, or until the pasta is cooked. If the soup is too thick, add a little stock or water.

Season to taste, then rip in the basil leaves (saving a few to serve) and dress with a few lugs of extra virgin olive oil. Stir, and serve with the saved basil and a grating of Parmesan.