15 g/ 1/2 oz dried mushrooms
100 g/3 1/2 oz shelled broad beans 1/2 cabbage, shredded
200 g/7 oz French beans, cut into short lengths 3 tomatoes, chopped
3 courgettes, chopped 1 aubergine, chopped 3 tablespoons olive oil
80 g/3 oz long-grain rice or short pasta Pesto , to taste. salt Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to serve


1.Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl, add hot water to cover and set aside to soak for 20 minutes, then drain and chop.
2.Put the mushrooms, broad beans, cabbage, French beans, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergine and a pinch of salt into a saucepan, pour in 2 litres/3 1/2 pints water and the olive oil and bring to the boil.
3.Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add the rice or pasta and cook until al dente. Remove from the heat and stir in the pesto. Ladle into a soup tureen and serve very hot with Parmesan.
4.This minestrone is also good cold. In this case do not add oil during cooking, and leave to cool to room temperature. Just before serving, drizzle with a little oil.

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