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Minestrone with Speck

(Serves 4 – 5 persons)
– dried minestrone (1/2 of package content, soaked in cool water overnight or 10 hours prior to cooking),
– 2 thick slices of Speck (smoked ham, cut in cubes),
– 1 medium size onion,
– 2 garlic cloves,
– 3 tomatoes,
– 4 medium size carrots,
– 2 small courgettes,
– 5 celery sticks,
– olive oil, salt, black pepper, marjoram, 1 cube of  vegetable stock,
– 150 g of pasta for soup (we used Tubetti rigati ruvidi),
– grated Parmesan cheese if you like.
Heat the olive oil in a pot, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Then add the speck and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the chopped tomatoes, carrots, courgettes and celery sticks, season with salt, black pepper, marjoram, add the vegetable stock cube and cook for about 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add drained minestrone, rinsed under water, add hot water so the soup is covered by water and cook for about 1 hour until the beans is quite soft.  Add more hot water if needed during cooking.  At the end of cooking add the pasta. If you like, you can serve the soup with sprinkled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.