This soup screams hearty comfort. It is so nourishing and delicious, you feel good eating it.
Feel free to add whatever vegetables you like or if you feel like a meat free dish forget the bacon and use vegetable stock instead.
You may also notice that the soup pictures don't match, that would be because one was made with chickpeas and basil, the other with butter beans and Italian parsley. Both work well.
4 tbsp olive oil 8 strips streaky bacon, roughly chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped1 teaspoon dried oregano 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and cubed2 sticks celery, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
1 leek, washed and sliced
1 bay leaf2 tbsp tomato paste3 tins tomatoes, pureed4 cups chicken stock2 cups silver beet, centres removed and sliced3/4 cup orecchiette pasta1 tin butter beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed1/4 cup basil leaves or Italian parsleyFresh ground pepperParmesan cheese, to garnish
Heat oil in a pan. Add bacon till crisp and golden. Set bacon aside, keep oil in pan.Add onions and lower heat and cook till translucent. Stir in oregano, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini, leek and bay leaf. Cook for around 10 minutes or until vegetables have softened.Add tomato paste and stir till vegetables are covered.Turn heat up and add pureed tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the potatoes and bacon, cover and lower heat. Cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes soft through to the middle.Add the silver beet, orecchiette and beans and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.Pour into a hot serving bowl, sprinkle over herbs, pepper and parmesan.
Serve with toasted cheesy bread or a simple sourdough, goes well with white wine or beer.