Serve the minestrone hot, accompanied by croutons of toasted bread. If you prefer pasta, you may add that to the minestrone instead of the toastes bread. It may not be authentic, but it is delicious: and the authenticity of this dish, like so much in the Mediterranean, is about what is available to eat at any given time: what is growing? (Zucchini! Pumpkin flowers! Green beans!).
Time: 50 minutes Difficulty: moderate Serves: 4
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500 g canned white beans, such as butter beans or cannellini, drained
300 g fresh green beans, sliced into large pieces
300 g chard, cleaned and cut up
8 pumpkin or zucchini flowers, cleaned and cut into several pieces each
4 zucchini, sliced
1 litre stock of choice (may be water mixed with a stock cube)
salt and pepper
Lightly sauté the onions and garlic with five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the parsley.
When wilted and golden in places, add the beans and the rest of the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
Add the stock, and cook, covered, for another 20 minutes or so. Serve hot with either toasted rustic bread, or pasta of choice.