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The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press

Serves 4-6

• 1 yellow bell pepper
• 2 ounces pancetta
• 1/2 onion
• 1/2 carrot
• 1/2 garlic clove
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
• 1 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig, chopped
• 2 potatoes, diced
• 3/4 cup fava beans, shelled
• 2 zucchini, sliced
• scant 1 cup peas, shelled
• 1/4 cabbage, coarsely shredded
• 1 Belgian endive head, cut into strips
• 2 eggplants, diced
• scant 1 cup cannolicchi pasta
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
• salt and pepper
• water
• provolone cheese, freshly grated, to serve

Place the bell pepper under a preheated broiler and cook, turning frequently, until the skin is charred and blistered.

Place in a plastic bag and tie the top.

When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, halve and seed the pepper and dice the flesh.

Finely chop the pancetta with the onion, carrot and garlic.

Heat the oil, add the pancetta mixture and cook over low heat for a few minutes until lightly browned.

Add the tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add 8 3/4 cups water and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, add the potatoes and beans and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the zucchini, peas, cabbage, Belgian endive, eggplants and yellow pepper.

Simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes until al dente.

Season with salt if necessary.

Ladle the minestrone into a soup tureen, sprinkle with the basil and serve with provolone.


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