This beautiful lady is my Italian grandmother, Nonna Maria. With jet black hair, dazzling hazel eyes and porcelain skin, she was a woman before her time. As an exceptional cook, she was able to turn basic ingredients into delicious meals, worthy of any restaurant table.
This minestrone soup was one of her staple dishes, as it uses various nutritious vegetables which are at hand, pasta for substance and herbs for taste. Bon appetito!
2 tbsp olive oil * 2 garlic cloves, chopped * 2 red onions, chopped * 85g (3oz) pancetta, diced * 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper, both deseeded and chopped * 395g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes * 1 litre (1¾ pints) vegetable stock * 1 stick celery * 395g (14oz) drained canned borlotti beans * 115g (4oz) shredded green leafy cabbage * 85g (3oz) thawed frozen peas * 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley * 85g (3oz) small dried pasta * salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, onions and pancetta then cook over a medium heat, stirring for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the peppers and tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the stock, then add the celery, beans, cabbage, peas and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta to the pan. Cook for a further 10-12 minutes, just keep checking the pasta until it is cooked. Add more water if you need to. Remove from the heat and ladle into warmed bowls.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.