Italian Country Soup
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
400g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
and boiled until tender or
1 x 400g can of cannellini beans,
drained and rinsed
100g green beans, topped, tailed and
cut into 2 cm pieces
200g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
300g swiss chard leaves roughly chopped
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
200g courgettes, cut into 2cm chunks
8 sage leaves
1.5 litres chicken stock
300g stale white country-style bread
freshly ground black pepper
1 Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cooked or canned cannellini beans and cook for 3 minutes, mashing them slightly as you stir them.
2 Add the green beans, potatoes, chard, tomatoes, courgettes and sage leaves and stir. Pour the stock and simmer for 40 minutes, covered. You want all the vegetables to cook until they are breaking down as this adds to the velvety thickness of the soup.
3 Add the bread in torn pieces and simmer soup for another 10 minutes until the bread has softened and thickens the soup. Check the seasoning before serving.