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  • Writer's pictureDavid


A simple, cheap and comforting 'cucina povera' broth.

A broth or a stew, depending on how much water you use, and how long you cook it.

Minestra is a warming, comforting and cheap meal. The longer you cook it, the denser the taste.

The traditional Italian serving is to lay stale bread on the bottom of the bowl and spoon the minestra over it; great if you have bread that's gone a bit hard - if not, try toast!



1 onion (half for 2 servings)


pork belly - or whatever meat you have leftover. I used pork loin for this.

cabbage - kale would do as well.

1 tin cannellini beans

hot water

thyme, pepper, salt



Watch the video


  • Finely chop the, cabbage, onion and garlic

  • Cut the meat into bite-sized chunks

  • Heat some olive oil in a pot

  • Add the onions and garlic

  • Add the meat - you don't want to seal it; you want the meat to flavour the whole dish

  • Add the cabbage

  • Add the cannellini beans (you can use whatever beans you have - just not baked beans!

  • Don't drain the beans - you'll want the liquid from the tin

  • Add the hot water - I use the bean tin for this as a way of getting every last drop from it.

  • Add thyme, pepper and salt. Have a go at trying other herbs and see what you think

  • Simmer for about an hour - keep an eye on it. The longer, the tastier

  • Put two slices of stale bread or thick cut toast in the bowl and ladle the minestra over it

  • Sprinkle with parmesan or flaked chilli - or both!

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