Minestrone with barley and greens

Create the classic Italian soup with barley in place of pasta for a chewy twist on the old fvaourite.

This classic Italian soup is wonderfully versatile. With a broth and tomato base to which you can add traditional ingredients like ham hock, white beans and pasta, or get creative with whichever vegetables, meats and grains you like or have on hand. Here we’ve used barley instead of pasta, and cavolo nero and broccolini alongside classic vegetable inclusions of carrot and leek.

There’s plenty of new food to look forward to once the weather starts to cool, with an influx of fresh, autumnal produce, plenty of warming stews and, of course, bowls of hearty soups. This is the one to reach for when you’re craving a bit of comfort, warmth and nourishing.

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1.Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F.
2.Roast ham hock and onion in a baking dish, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
3.Transfer roasted hock and onion to a large saucepan. Add the celery, peppercorns, bay leaf and 4 litres (16 cups) water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours.
4.Remove hock from broth. Strain broth through a muslin-lined sieve or colander into a large heatproof bowl; discard solids. Allow broth to cool. Cover; refrigerate until cold.
5.Remove ham from hock; shred coarsely. Discard bone, fat and skin.
6.Heat oil in a large saucepan; cook carrot, leek and extra celery, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add shredded ham, garlic, paste and fresh tomato; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
7.Discard fat from surface of broth. Pour broth into a large measuring jug; add enough water to make 2 litres (8 cups). Pour broth into pan; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
8.Add barley to pan; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Add cavolo nero, broccolini and beans; simmer for a further 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.
9.Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with parmesan. Serve with toasted sourdough.

Store minestrone in the fridge for up to 4 days; or freeze for up to 2 months.


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