Italian food is characteristic in its use of so few ingredients and simple cooking techniques to produce some of the most flavoursome dishes known. This hearty Southern Italian soup dish is a perfect example, and is something I keep going back to when I’m in need of a quick but very filling meal.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6)

  • 200g celery, chopped
  • 150g short grain rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1L beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 20g butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Plenty of Parmesan cheese to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the onions, cooking over a low heat until they become soft.
  2. Add the celery and the tomato sauce and allow to cook for 5 minutes
  3. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the saucepan, allowing the mixture to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the saucepan and stir frequently until the mixture comes back to a boil. Allow to cook gently for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked (it should maintain some resistance, but should not be chalky).
  5. Serve immediately in bowls with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garnished with parsley