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    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Cooking time: 75 minutes to 135 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 140g cubed pancetta (optional)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 2 sticks celery, diced
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
    • 2 medium courgettes
    • 400g can chopped tomatoes
    • 1 large sprig basil
    • Piece of Parmesan
    • Freshly grated Parmesan
    • Cheese rind (optional)
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 410g can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
    • 50g pasta shapes (optional)


    1. To save time, prepare each vegetable while the preceding one is cooking. Put the oil into a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the pancetta. Once it is beginning to colour, stir in the onion and start preparing the carrots. Fry the onion until very soft, then add the carrots. Leave to cook while you dice the celery, then follow with the garlic, potato and courgette. Cook the courgette for about 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes. Fill the tomato tin with water twice, and mix into the soup with the basil, Parmesan rind and pepper. Don't salt at this stage, unless you aren't using the Parmesan rind.
    2. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat so the soup gently bubbles. Cook for 2 hours. As it cooks it will thicken. You can serve it after an hour but it will be better after two. Twenty minutes before the end of cooking, season, and add the beans and pasta, if using. You'll need to add a little extra water. Return to the boil then simmer until the pasta is cooked. Serve with grated Parmesan and bread.

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