Minestrone Verde

The ideal soup recipe for a cold day. This minestrone verde from My Simple Italian features a medley of celery, Swiss chard, borlotti beans and fresh basil.

From the book

My Simple Italian by
My Simple Italian
100 foolproof recipes for classic Italian dishes
Simple, fresh ideas for midweek dinners
Comforting recipes for traditional home cooking

Introduction

A delicious soup, this is a meal in itself and is also very healthy, It’s perfect for a cold day when not much is fresh in season.

Serves 6 as a starter
Easy
Cook time: 1 h 10 min

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1kg Swiss chard
1 x 400g jar or can borlotti beans, drained (rinse if canned)
5 basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fruity olive oil, to serve

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the celery, onion, carrots and garlic and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.

Tip in the tomatoes and stir, then cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Meanwhile, remove the Swiss chard leaves from the stalks. Finely chop the stalks; keep the leaves whole. Blanch the leaves in a large pan of boiling salted water for about 3 minutes until tender. Remove with tongs to a colander to drain, then roughly chop and set aside.

Add the chopped stalks to the pan of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes until tender; drain well in the colander set over a bowl (reserve the blanching water). Set the stalks aside.

Add the borlotti beans to the tomato mixture and cook for a further 10 minutes before pouring in 400ml of the chard blanching water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chard leaves and stalks along with the basil. Season with salt and pepper If you want a smoother soup, blitz it for 10 seconds using a hand blender - this will give you a creamy but still chunky consistency. Serve the soup hot, with a good dash of fruity olive oil added to each bowl.

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