Thick, filling wintery soup made from stuff that's lurking in the cupboards even if you haven't been shopping in ages

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tins of tomatoes
1 tin of canellini or flageolet beans, drained and rinsed
2 pints vegetable stock, or water with 2 stock cubes
1 teaspoon of black olive paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper

Fry the onions and the garlic in the olive oil until soft and just starting to brown, then pour in the tomatoes, oregano and olive paste. Simmer gently for about ten minutes, then stir in the beans and add the bay leaves. After about five minutes, add the water and stock cubes and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, and fish out the bay leaves. Ladle about half of the soup into a blender, and blend well before pouring back into the rest of the soup. Add black pepper to taste.

If you want to make the soup even thicker, add a generous handful of small pasta, and cook until the pasta is al dente. Serve hot.

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