Preparation time 12 minutes
Cooking time 45–50 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato purée
125 ml (4 fl oz) red wine
750 ml (1¼ pints) vegetable stock
400 g (13 oz) can mixed beans or Tuscan bean mix, drained
2–3 thyme sprigs, chopped
1 rosemary sprig, chopped
2 bay leaves
100 g (3½ oz) mini wholewheat pasta shapes or orzo
salt and pepper
Read also: VEGETABLE BROTH WITH PEARL BARLEY
To serve (optional)
grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat, then add the onion, celery, carrot, red pepper and garlic and cook gently for 12–15 minutes or until softened. Add the tomato purée and wine and cook for a further 2–3 minutes.
Stir in the stock, beans, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Stir in the pasta shapes and continue to simmer for about 12 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with the Parmesan, if liked.
For hearty Tuscan bean salad, cook the vegetables in the olive oil for 18–20 minutes or until very tender. Toss with the beans and chopped herbs in a large serving bowl and leave to cool. Stir in 3 deseeded and chopped tomatoes and 1–2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss lightly with a mixed leaf salad and garnish with Parmesan cheese shavings.