Rice and bean minestrone


  • Serves 10 people

"This soup uses parmesan rind cut up into small pieces," says Stefano Manfredi. "It melts yet retains a little chewiness - it's delicious. Prepare the rind by scraping off the thin coating of wax with a sharp knife (it's harmless but tastes a little strange). Then cut the rind into 1cm cubes. This soup tastes much better the day after it's made, but you may need to thin it with a little extra liquid because the rice absorbs it as it stands."

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, each cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 1 celery heart (including the tender pale leaves), sliced
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 350 gm waxy potatoes, such as nicola, cut into 1cm dice
  • 125 gm (½ cup) podded fresh borlotti, cannellini or similar beans (270gm unpodded; see note)
  • 200 gm canned peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed
  • 100 gm (½ cup) carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 60 gm parmesan rind, thin outer wax removed, cut into 1cm cubes
  • Freshly grated parmesan and crusty bread, to serve
01   Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and bay leaves and fry vegetables lightly, without colouring, until softened (3-5 minutes). Add potato, beans and tomato, then add water to cover ingredients by 4cm (about 1.25 litres). Bring to the boil over high heat, add rice, season to taste and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until rice is cooked (20-25 minutes). Add parsley and parmesan rind, and simmer until parmesan starts to soften (5 minutes). Season to taste, scatter with plenty of parmesan, drizzle with olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

Note If fresh beans are unavailable, use canned beans, rinsed.

Watch Stefano Manfredi from Sydney's Balla restaurant make the rice and bean minestrone recipe live from the Harvey Norman Gourmet Institute Event on June 24 at Domayne Alexandria in an exclusive video on the Harvey Norman website

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