There are many minestrone soup recipes; they all contain some type of vegetables and legumes. But you can also cook minestrone soup with meat and even add pasta at the end to really bulk out the dish. This version is slow-cooked and uses ham hock and tomatoes to flavour and thicken the soup. And it’s dead easy. Grab yourself a large pot, throw everything in, turn it on and walk away while it simmers quietly in the background. It’s cheap to make, while being an excellent winter warmer.
- 1/4 lb pork fat, chopped
- 2 lbs boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped (about 1 1/ 2 pounds)
- 3/4 lb swiss chard leaf, no white part,chopped
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 cups water
- 2 cans red kidney beans (drained and well rinsed)
- 1 ham hock, split longways into four equal pieces (about 1/ 2 pound)
- 1 large Tomato, peeled,seeded and chopped (about 10 ounces)
- 1/4 lb elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- In a large casserole or soup pot, cook the pork fat over medium-high heat until there is some fat in the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Then add the potatoes, cabbage, chard, onion, and garlic until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, add the beans, ham or smoked bacon, and tomato, and cook until the beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours.
- Add the elbow macaroni and continue to cook until a spoon can stand straight up in the center of the soup, and the pasta is tender, should only take about 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.