An Italian staple, vibrantly rich on the eye and wholesome to boot, with crusty bread to mop up.
4 slices diced pancetta/bacon
2 each of the following (chopped ): onions, potatoes, carrots, celery stalks, garlic cloves and courgettes
2 tins tomatoes
1 glass red wine
500ml (1pt ) any stock
200 g (0.5lb ) chopped (incl stalks ) spinach/chard
80g (3oz ) dried pasta (small shapes )
1 tin cannelli/borlotti/haricot beans*
2 handfuls frozen peas
Handful chopped parsley and basil
Parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper
Heat some olive oil and sweat slowly, lid ajar, cook the chopped pancetta/bacon, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic and basil stalks for 25 minutes. Add tomatoes and wine and simmer for 25 minutes.
Add stock, courgettes, spinach/chard, pasta and parsley. When the pasta and courgettes are cooked, add the cooked beans and peas and heat through. Add the torn basil leaves, season and serve with grated Parmesan and crusty bread.
*Dried beans can be used, soaked overnight, then cooked with a bay leaf.