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Slow Cooker Italian Minestrone Stew

Make this hearty slow cooker Italian minestrone stew using kitchen cupboard essentials and a few extra buys from the shops. Great for a big family meal or batch cooking on a Sunday – just divide up into portions and pop in the freezer for a tasty midweek meal.

Slow Cooker Minestrone Stew

Ingredients


100g smoked lardons
100g smoked pancetta cubes
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp tomato purée
400g can chopped plum tomatoes
1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock
400g can cannellini beans in water, rinsed and drained
50g pasta or spaghetti (snapped into shorter pieces)
Handful fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan (optional)

Method


 

  1. Fry the lardons and pancetta over a low heat until crisp and golden; transfer to a plate for later
  2. In the same pan, add the carrots, celery and onion and fry in the bacon and pancetta fat for a couple of minutes; add the garlic, herbs and tomato purée. Cook for another minute or so then add the plum tomatoes and most of the stock; bring to the boil
  3. Transfer the stew to your slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours until the vegetables are tender
  4. Stir in the beans and pasta, adding more stock if the stew seems too thick. Sprinkle the spinach on top and cook for another half an hour until the pasta is cooked to your taste
  5. Season with salt and pepper, then serve up with plenty of parmesan

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