Classic minestrone

Date: January 2020

Classic minestrone

This is a really good filling vegetable, bean and pasta soup. Very healthy and nutritious and great to have for lunch or supper. You can add any vegetables you like really and this makes a big pot so that you can freeze half for another day or portion up and freeze to take to work.

Enjoy! (Serves 8-10)

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 x 400 g tin of cannellini beans
  • 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon
  • olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 x 400 g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 1 litre vegetable, chicken or ham stock
  • 100 g pasta, any shape
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese

Method

Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Trim and roughly chop the carrots, celery and courgette, then add the vegetables to a large bowl.  Cut the ends off the leek, quarter it lengthways, wash it under running water, then cut into 1cm slices. Add to the bowl.

Scrub and dice the potato. Drain the cannellini beans, then set aside.  Finely slice the bacon.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry gently for 2 minutes, or until golden.

Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, courgette, leek, oregano and bay and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the potato, cannellini beans and plum tomatoes, then pour in the vegetable stock. Stir well, cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through.

Add the pasta to the pan, and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. This means that it should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of a bite and firmness to it. Try some just before the time is up to make sure you cook it perfectly.

Pick over the basil leaves (if using) and stir through. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, and a pinch of sugar, then serve with a grating of Parmesan and a slice of wholemeal bread, if you like.

 Next month: Red Curry Chicken Risotto

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