- 3 tbsps. olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
- 100 g/3 ½ oz. / ¾ cup prosciutto or prosciutto di speck, cut into pieces
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm/1 in cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 ripe plum tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 400 g/14 oz. canned borlotti/cranberry beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 liter/1 ¾ pints/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 100 g/3 ½ oz. /1 cup pasta shapes
- large handful basil leaves, torn
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- shredded basil leaves, to garnish
- crusty bread, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan, add the celery and prosciutto and cook gently for 6-8 minutes until softened. Add the chopped chilli and potato cubes and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add the garlic to the chilli and potato mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in two thirds of the beans, then pour in the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
Add the pasta shapes to the soup stock and return it to simmering point. Cook the pasta for about 10 minutes or until al dente.
Meanwhile, place the remaining beans in a food processor or blender and blend with enough of the soup stock to make a smooth, thinnish puree.
When the pasta is cooked, stir in the pureed beans with the torn basil. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls, garnish with shredded basil and serve immediately with plenty of crusty bread.