In Donal's own words, 'I’m a self taught home cook who writes and photographs food for a living. I’ve been cooking from an early age ...
1 tblsp rapeseed oil
150g (5oz) smoked streaky bacon
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 x 400g (14oz) tins of whole plum tomatoes
½ head of Savoy cabbage, shredded
1.5 litres (2½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1–2 leftover Parmesan rinds (optional)
3 large handfuls of sourdough bread, cut into cubes
1 x 400g (14oz) tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
Heat the oil in a large cooking pot over a medium heat, add the bacon and onions and fry until the onions are tender. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and chilli flakes and stir through, cooking for a further 5–6 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Pour in the plum tomatoes and use a potato masher to quickly break them up, then add the shredded cabbage and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Pour in the stock, add the bay leaf and any leftover Parmesan rinds you might have, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Add the cubes of bread and cannellini beans and cook for a further 6–8 minutes until the bread has softened and thickened the soup. Serve in deep bowls, sprinkled with grated Parmesan and drizzled with a drop of extra-virgin olive oil.