During the cold weather, this is just what you need to keep warm!
2 tblsps olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, washed, sliced (white part only)
100g sliced pancetta, finely chopped
2 tblsps tomato paste
1 tblsp Italian herbs stir-in paste
2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
500g Desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 1½cm pieces
410g can crushed tomatoes
400g can four bean mix, drained, rinsed
1 medium zucchini (200g), trimmed, coarsely shredded
Cracked black pepper, to taste
OLIVE, GARLIC AND CHEESE BREAD
520g loaf kalamata olive sourdough
75g butter, chopped, at, room temperature
1 clove garlic, crushed
1½ cups grated pizza cheese
Heat oil in a stockpot over a medium to high heat. Add the leeks and pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in pastes.
Add chicken stock, potatoes, tomatoes and bean mix. Bring to a boil. Gently boil, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the zucchini. Gently boil for a further 2 minutes. Season with pepper and remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, to make bread, cut crossways into 1½cm -thick slices, about three-quarters of the way through. Spread combined butter and garlic over cut-sides. Push cheese in between slices. Place on oven tray lined with baking paper.
Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for about 20 minutes, or until bread is crisp.
Serve minestrone with bread.