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Hairy Recipe: Minestrone Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

200g bacon lardons

1 onion, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

200g celeriac, peeled and diced

2 sticks of celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

150ml red wine

1.2 litre chicken stock

1 rind of parmesan (optional)

1 parma ham bone (optional) don’t have to add this

1 tsp dried oregano

1 sprig rosemary

1x 400g tin cannellini or borlotti beans, drained

50g spaghetti, broken into pieces

1 tomato, finely chopped

2 leeks, cut into rounds

¼ green cabbage (savoy, green pointed) or a bunch of cavolo nero or chard, shredded

1 large courgette, sliced

4 tbsp parmesan, for sprinkling.

A few basil leaves as garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the bacon and fry on a medium heat until very well browned and plenty of fat has rendered out. Add the onion, carrots, celeriac and celery. Turn down the heat and cook gently for a few minutes just until they take on some colour. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Pour in the red wine and allow to bubble furiously, stirring constantly to make sure the pan is thoroughly deglazed. Add the chicken stock and the parmesan rind and ham bone if you are using them, then sprinkle in the herbs. Bring to the boil, then turn down and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the beans, spaghetti and tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning at this point – it may be very salty from the bacon and ham bone. Add salt if necessary and plenty of black pepper.

Add the green vegetables and simmer gently until they and the spaghetti are tender. Remove the ham bone, rosemary sprig and parmesan rind from the soup and serve sprinkled with parmesan and some basil leaves.

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