Cold weather cruising calls for heart (and stomach) warming recipes!  This is one of my favourites to make ahead and freeze in containers to take with us.  This is typical peasant cuisine, for which the cook just used what they had at hand, so feel free to make substitutions.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 sticks celery, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 1 smoked hock, whole or smoked ham, diced
  • 185g dried cannelloni or borlotti beans, or 2 cans of beans
  • 1 cup tomato passata or 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 litres chicken stock or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 cups diced zucchini
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 2 cups cavalo nero (black kale), de-stemmed and chopped or cabbage
  • Salt, pepper
  • Parmesian cheese, grated


If using dried beans, soak overnight in plenty of water.  Drain and then cook beans in plenty of water until tender, about 1-2 hours.  If using hock, cook hock with beans.

Heat oil and butter in a soup pot, add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  Add celery and carrot and cook for 10 min. Add the passata, stock, and bay leaves and simmer for 15 min. If using hock, remove meat from hock, chop up and add to soup or add diced ham, Add zucchini, green beans, cavelo nero / cabbage and drained beans.  Continue to cook until vegetables are soft.  Season as necessary.  Can serve the same day, but even better reheated!

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and some lovely crusty bread.

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