Gennaro’s minestrone

Gennaro's minestrone Gennaro Contaldo Il minestrone di Gennaro

Always the helpful soul, as soon as he heard the word minestrone Salmon reached for that vintage can of beans he’s been trying to smuggle into something for ages…

Gennaro’s minestrone

Gennaro's minestrone

Trota, of course, was having none of it. Inspired by the maestro himself – though there are many versions of this classic big soup – Trota stayed close to Gennaro’s recipe (from Gennaro’s Easy Italian).

You will need: 1 garlic clove bashed, 1 onion finely chopped, 2 celery stalks finely chopped, 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley finely chopped, 100g spinach, 100g Swiss chard roughly chopped (we substituted cavolo nero as we couldn’t find chard on the day), 100g courgette sliced, 1 carrot chopped in cubes, 3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped, 3 fresh tomatoes peeled, deseeded and chopped, 100g borlotti beans (we happened to have fresh from the vegetable plot), 200g shelled peas, 1.5lt vegetable stock, grated parmesan, olive oil.

Alongside, we prepared some quick crostini: ciabatta bread cut in 1.5cm cubes, drizzled in olive oil and scattered on a tray in the oven to crisp up.

To make the minestrone, start by heating some olive oil in a large saucepan, add garlic, onion, celery and parsley and sweat for 2–3min. Add the spinach, chard (or cavolo nero), courgette and carrots, and stir well. Then add the borlotti beans, potatoes, tomatoes and vegetable stock and simmer for 30min or so.

Finally, add the shelled peas. When everything is cooked (check the beans and potatoes as they take longer) remove from the heat and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve topped with crostini, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan.

You know, Salmon, we’re serious about food in the cartoon kitchen – so thank you, but let’s save that can of beans for another day.