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Recipe of the Week: Minestrone With Cannellini Beans

31/01/2014 16:56 GMT | Updated 02/04/2014 10:59 BST

This is the best soup to warm you up. Its healthy, filling, vegetarian and very easy to prepare. The swiss chard adds an earthy sweetness to the soup and you can use the cooking water as stock. If you puree half of the soup you get a lovely creamy minestrone that has great texture and flavour. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil on top. A glass of Chianti Classico would be a perfect match. Have a good week!

400g tin/can of cannellini beans (drained of their juice)

500g of swiss chard (stem chopped into 1cm pieces)

400g tin of chopped Italian tomatoes

2 carrots finely chopped

1 medium white onion finely chopped

2 sticks of celery finely chopped

3 tblsp of olive oil

8 leaves of basil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a hot heavy based saucepan add the olive oil and the chopped celery carrot onion. Cook on a low heat until they are soft.

In a pot of boiling salted water cook the swiss chard stems until they are tender.

Using a slotted spoon take them out of the boiling water and add them to the celery carrot onion and cook for another five mins.

Add the swiss chard leaves to the boiling water and cook until they are tender.

Remove drain and keep the cooking water.

Add the tomatoes to the celery onion carrot and chard stalks. Reduce by half then add the cannellini beans and three cups of the swiss chard cooking water. Bring to a gentle simmer and check the seasoning.

Add the swiss chard leaves basil and a dash of good olive oil. Using a stick blender puree half of the soup. Check the seasoning and serve.