Italian Meat and Vegetable Soup

This filling, warming soup is really a meal in itself if served with hot crusty bread.

2 oz. butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 lb. minced beef

3 pints beef stock

2 teaspoons salt teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

3 courgettes , trimmed, washed and thinly sliced

4 oz. peas

4 oz. canned peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and fry them, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown.

Add the beef and fry, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the meat is broken up and browned.

Pour in the stock and add the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, courgettes and peas and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the soup into a warmed soup tureen. Sprinkle the soup with the cheese and serve at once.

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