Classic Minestrone Soup
A vegetarian staple. Vegetables, pasta and pulses add a hunk of wholemeal bread, top with shaved parmesan and you have a complete meal in a bowl. Make it yourself, it is outstandingly easy, cheap and nourishing. This recipe doubles up and will keep for a couple of days and freezes well. In fact, it tastes even better the next day. For extra depth make your own stock.
- 1.5 litres of veggie stock or water∗
- 1 large leek, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 large courgette, sliced
- 100g green beans cut in half
- 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 x 400g chopped tomatoes
- a handful of chopped basil
- a pick of fresh thyme or about 3tsp dried
- 1 x 400g white beans
- 1 x 400g kidney beans
- 50g small pasta shapes
∗Making your own stock is easy and is the first thing I do when I am making this soup as I have to buy all the ingredients anyway and I use all the scraps from the leeks, celery and carrots that you have to prepare. You can add any tomato halves you have hanging around in the fridge too. Prepare the veggies as above, keeping the pile of peels tops and tails for your stock pot.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion and the leek scraps
- 2 stalks celery, including some leaves and scraps
- 2 large carrots including the scraps
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- 8 sprigs fresh parsley
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 litres water
- I wash the carrot and celery and peel the onion then and roughly chop them all.
- Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain and discard the vegetables.
Seriously, sometimes I just chop the ends off the leek, break the celery in half quickly peel, top and tail the carrots throw these scraps into the pot with a un peeled onion cut in half, a carrot, garlic cloves whole and any other root vegetables I have to hand in the fridge (not turnip), bay leaves, couple of whole black peppercorns and herbs, cover with water and continue from step 3. I get on with the recipe and this cheater stock is ready by the time I need it.
Put the prepared leeks, carrots, green beans and celery in a large pot with the olive oil over a high heat. Keep them moving and when they start to sizzle bring the heat down and put a lid on sweat for about 10mins, keep an eye on them so they do not catch. Add the courgettes and saute for a further 5 mins. Add the liquid, stock or water, tinned tomatoes and herbs, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20mins, add the pasta and continue to cook for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the pasta is almost cooked. At this point add the tinned beans, season with salt and pepper, turn the heat off and allow to sit for about 5 mins.
YUMMY eat hot, warm or cold.