It's hard to beat this recipe, especially as you can make it whichever way you want - with whatever you have! Add more greens, more pesto, more herbs, more root veg, more tomatoes, a splash of red wine, even leftover cold cuts or chorizo. There aren't really any rules, but this is the classic recipe and it's delicious. Great for kids.
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 celery stick, diced
2 rashers of smoked bacon, chopped, or equivalent of pancetta
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped, or half a can of plum tomatoes
1/2 cup cannelini beans
1/2 cup small pasta shapes, eg macaroni, or larger ones lightly crushed
1 handful of shredded Savoy, Pointed or white cabbage,
1 litre of stock
1 bay leaf
1 handful of fresh herbs - chives, thyme, basil, oregano, basil etc
1 handful of parmesan cheese, finely grated
seas salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp pesto, per bowl, to serve
Gently sweat the onion, celery, carrot and bacon in olive oil. Add the garlic after 3 minutes, followed by the herbs and tomatoes. Then add the stock, bring to a boil, and add the pasta shapes. After a few minutes add the cannelini beans and test the seasoning. Bubble away for around 10 minutes, then add the shredded cabbage and take off the heat almost immediately.
Serve with a decent grating of parmesan and a little pesto or olive oil and basil on the top. So good!