• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3–4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (200 g) dried cannellini or borlotti beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 can roma tomatoes in juice, about 400 g
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1⅓ cups (200 g) finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup (150 g) finely diced swede
  • 1 cup (150 g) finely diced celeriac
  • 1⅔ cups (250 g) finely diced pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 allspice berries, finely crushed
  • 1⅓ cups (200 g) finely diced potatoes
  • 1¼ cups (155 g) chopped green beans
  • 100 g small pasta shapes, such as farfallini (bows) or conchigliette (shells), or broken–up spaghetti
  • 2½ cups (125 g) chopped English spinach
  • ⅓ cup (20 g) shredded fresh basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated parmesan to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, cover and cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the cannellini or borlotti beans and pour in 2 litres water.
  4. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes with their juice, breaking them up with a fork, then add the tomato paste, carrots, swede, celeriac and pumpkin.
  6. Stir in the thyme, bay leaf and crushed allspice.
  7. Bring back to simmering point, then cover the pan again and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Stir in the potatoes and green beans.
  9. Continue simmering, covered, for 15 minutes.
  10. Stir in the pasta and cook, still covered, for a further 10 minutes or until the cannellini or borlotti beans are tender and the pasta is cooked.
  11. Add the spinach and basil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Simmer uncovered for 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted.
  13. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve at once, with the parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Serves 6
Preparation: 30 minutes, plus overnight soaking
Cooking: about 1½ hours

Source: Soups & Casseroles
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