This hearty and flavoursome soup is a meal in itself and a great way to use some of the spring cabbage that is available now. Real minestrone has pasta in it – I’ve substituted that for risotto rice, but you could also use short grain pudding rice.
2tbsp olive oil
2 celery sticks
3 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 handful basil leaves
1 tin borlotti beans (or other bean of your choice)
2 tins (or one giant tin) chopped tomatoes
1litre vegetable stock (see my separate recipe)
2tbsp risotto rice/short grain pudding rice
1 spring green or small spring cabbage
4 savoy cabbage leaves
First, wash, peel and chop the onion, leek, carrot, celery and garlic. I usually dice the onion and then do the carrot, leek in celery in 1cm discs, but use your own judgement on this one. The garlic should be chopped finely. Add all of this to a large saucepan or casserole with the olive oil. Put a lid on and allow to steam gently on a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Next add the chopped leaves from the rosemary and basil, the beans, tomatoes, rice and stock. Put the lid back on and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.
During this time, wash the cabbages and remove the outer leaves. Roughly chop all the spring greens/spring cabbage except for the big stalky bits. Chop the savoy cabbage the same way, again avoiding the biggest bits of stalk. Place the leaves back on the soup and pop the lid back on so they can steam nicely. After five minutes, stir the cabbage into the soup and cook for a further five minutes before serving. Season with salt to taste.