Stella McCartney's winter minestrone recipe

Stella McCartney's winter minestrone recipe

Don’t be fooled by the name — the character of this thick, wholesome soup is more North African than Italian. It has a lot in common with the European version though, with the couscous playing a similar role to the vermicelli noodles found in many recipes.


  • 200g (7.1 oz) Farro semiperlato (or pearled spelt)
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Leek, finely chopped
  • 1 Stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 Medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Medium turnip, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 pinch Crushed dried chilli flakes
  • 400g (14.1 oz) Tinned tomatoes
  • 1l (1.8 pints) Vegetable stock
  • 400g (14.1 oz) Tinned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Bunch cavolo nero, shredded
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful Freshly grated vegetarian parmesan to serve


  • Cuisine: African
  • Recipe Type: Main
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Preparation Time: 10 mins
  • Cooking Time: 50 mins
  • Serves: 4


  1. Rinse the farro in a sieve under cold running water, tip into a bowl, cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes while you prepare the soup base. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped veggies and cook over a low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes until tender but not coloured. Add the crushed garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a further minute.
  2. Pour the tomatoes into the pan, add the stock and bring to the boil. Drain the farro and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook the soup for 25 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the farro is cooked. Add the cannellini beans and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. You may need to add extra stock if the soup is too thick. Add the cavolo nero and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  3. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil, a scattering of grated Parmesan and slices of toasted sourdough bread.

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