Minestrone is real comfort food. Perfect for a cold or rainy day. Literally translated it means ‘big soup’ and traditionally Italian peasants made it from leftover meals. The beans and pasta make it especially hearty and fulfilling. This is a perfect recipe for using leftover vegetables. For a non-vegan version you can even add the rind – yes that is right- from Parmesan cheese. This gives additional flavor to the soup.


  • 8 tbsp olive oil e.g. il circolo extra vergine olive oil
  • 40 g butter
  • 3 large onions, cut into small pieces
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, diced
  • 3 courgettes, diced
  • 250 g savoy cabbage or green cabbage
  • 100 gr green beans, cleaned and cut into 1 cm pieces)
  • 2 litres of water plus 4 (vegetable) stock cubes
  • Rind of Parmesan cheese
  • 400 g white cannellini canned beans
  • 200 g pasta (e.g. Rigatone)
  • 50 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 30 g Parsley, finely chopped


  1. Put olive oil, butter and onion in the pan.
  2. Let the onion braise until soft. In the meantime, cut the carrots and add them. Repeat this with the celery, potatoes, courgettes, savoy cabbage and French beans, while stirring in the pan from time to time.
  3. Put a pot on the stove with water and the vegetable stock cubes. When it boils add the cheese rind. Leave to cook for 2 hours.
  4. Finally, add the beans and pasta. The soup must have enough liquid so that the pasta can absorb it to cook. You may need to add some water. Cook the soup until the pasta is ready. R
  5. emove the cheese rind from the soup and put the grated cheese in it.
  6. Divide the soup over plates and pour over a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and bread.

Adapted from: Nigella Lawson, How to Eat

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