Ham and macaroni soup

Ham and macaroni soup

The Sunday Night Book
Patricia Niven

Soup makes a warming Sunday-night supper, and this broth is a lovely lighter option. I usually cook this one around Christmas, when there’s usually ham and often the requisite ham bone to make a good stock – and a lighter meal is generally very welcome! If your fridge is groaning with leftovers, feel free to add a bit of turkey or goose, and some sprouts or other greens instead of the spinach.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 leek, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 stick celery, washed and diced
1 carrot, peeled, halved lengthways and then sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
couple of sprigs thyme and sage
1 bay leaf
strip lemon zest
500ml ham or vegetable stock
200g cooked ham, shredded
2 handfuls baby spinach, well washed
100g macaroni
generous handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
sea salt
black pepper
freshly grated parmesan, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, add the onion, together with a pinch of salt, and soften over a low heat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to high, add the leek, celery and carrot to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, along with the herbs and lemon zest and stir about for a couple of minutes, then pour in the stock and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook gently for about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling salted water until nicely al dente.
  3. After the broth has been cooking for 20 minutes, add the ham, spinach, macaroni and parsley and leave them to warm through in the hot broth. This will take about 5 minutes, so turn the heat right down, as you don’t want the ham to boil and become dry and tough. Check the seasoning, then serve in big warm bowls with parmesan grated on top.
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