Minestrone

2 sticks celery
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 baby eggplant, diced
2 zucchini, diced
6 large flat mushrooms, or 15 button mushrooms, diced
olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 can borlotti beans
1 can butter beans / bean mix / whatever beans you like
1 can crushed tomatoes
lots chopped parsley
a handful freshly grated parmesan
freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, fry the onion, celery and carrot until the onion starts to soften. Add the other veggies and sauté for a couple of minutes. Tip into the pan the chickpeas and borlotti beans, and the tomato. Tip in a tin or two of water too, and perhaps a glass of red wine. Keep stirring until the soup starts to simmer, then let it cook for 15 -30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, put the other tin of beans in the blender and pulse till they're a puree.

Five minutes before serving, add the parsley and the pureed beans, stir through, and bring back to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with bread or herb scones, and pass the cheese separately.



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