Minestrone soup with legumes and bacon

Neil Perry
Serve with crusty bread rubbed with garlic, sea salt and lashings of extra virgin olive oil.
Serve with crusty bread rubbed with garlic, sea salt and lashings of extra virgin olive oil. Photo: William Meppem

This winter soup is super quick to make as the legumes are already cooked. A great addition for the soup is pesto or thinly sliced prosciutto folded through.


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

60g smoky bacon, finely diced

1 large red onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 leek, white part only, washed and diced

4 celery stalks, finely diced

2 carrots, peeled and finely diced

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp tomato paste

25g shredded silverbeet, leaves and stalks

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 fresh bay leaf

2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, leaves removed and roughly chopped

1 litre chicken stock

100g cannellini beans, cooked

100g chickpeas, cooked

1 cup orzo pasta, cooked

freshly ground pepper

parmesan, to serve


Heat the oil on medium-low in a deep heavy-based pan and sweat the smoky bacon until it releases its fat. Add the onion, garlic, leek, celery, carrot and salt and sweat over low heat for 8 minutes, without colouring. Add tomato paste and silverbeet and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley and stock. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 1 hour. Add the cooked cannellini beans, chickpeas and pasta for a further 3 minutes to heat through.

Check the seasoning, adding more salt, if necessary, and freshly ground pepper.

Remove the bay leaf before serving. Spoon the soup into four bowls and add a fresh grind of pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to each. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.