Friday, September 28, 2007

Swiss chard and white bean minestrone

Minestrone is a delicious Italian vegetable soup that can be fancy and complex or laid back and unpretentious, like this recipe. The soup is beefed up here by serving ladles of the hot minestrone over thick and garlicky toasted ciabatta to mop up all the goodness. Serves 4.

2 tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
1 small bunch of Swiss chard (about 350g), finely chopped
1l vegetable stock
400g canned cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed and roughly mashed
4 thick slices of ciabatta
2 garlic cloves, halved
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
finely grated parmesan cheese, to serve
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes to soften. Add the Swiss chard and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until softened. Add the stock and beans and gently bring to the boil. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Toast the ciabatta until golden on both sides. Rub the bread with the cut side of the garlic, then place each one in a serving bowl. Drizzle each piece of bread with olive oil and ladle over the soup. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and serve immediately.

Next time: It's easy to turn this into a satisfying pasta meal. Simply leave out the stock and add 400g cooked pasta shapes to the pan when you add the beans, season well with sea salt and black pepper and stir in some finely grated parmesan cheese for extra flavour.

Swiss chard and white bean minestrone [via Treehugger]

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