Recipe for Minestrone Soup

Recipe for Minestrone Soup

It's easy to forget that Minestrone soup is actually Italian, it's been a staple in so many countries for so long.  That probably goes some way to explaining the variety you find in the soups, not to mention the quality!  This recipe is pretty classic, but don't let an Italian mama see it, she may differ in her opinion.  Although, I reckon she would love it too.

MinestronSoupBowl

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  50 minutes

Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings as a full meal
1 x tbsp olive oil
125gr / 4.5 oz. smoked bacon sliced finely or into thin strips
1 x large onion chopped finely
3 x large cloves of garlic, chopped finely
3 x stalks of celery chopped finely
3 x carrots, peeled and chopped finely
2 x tbsp tomato purée
1 x tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
2 x large tomatoes chopped into 8ths
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes (400gr / 14 oz.)
1 x tin of kidney beans (400gr / 14 oz.) drained and washed.  A more traditional option is cannellini beans, but I just prefer kidney.
100gr / 3.5 oz. macaroni (or you can use spaghetti or other pasta broken into little pieces).
1.2 liter / 2.5 pt. UK / 2.1 pt.US chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 of a savoy cabbage, shredded
Salt and black pepper to taste
Some finely grated parmesan to serve

minestroneingred2

 Method

  1. Heat the oil in a very large pan that has a close fitting lid.  Then add the celery, bacon, onion, carrot and garlic.  Fry this off for about 5 to 7 minutes until it has softened a little.  No colour is needed on the vegetables, so make sure the heat isn’t too high that they become brown, but high enough the vegetables sweat and soften.
  2. Add the tomato purée and  the thyme leaves, stir through and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the stock, the tin of tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and a little salt and pepper. Stir everything through, set the heat so that your soup is on a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked al dente.
  4. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is ready.  Follow the timing instructions on the packet, but this is normally about 7 minutes.
  5. Add the cabbage and the beans and cook until the cabbage has wilted.  This will take about 5 minutes.
  6. Check for seasoning and add some salt and pepper if needed before serving.
  7. Sprinkle a little parmesan over each bowl of soup.

 Tips and Variations

  • You may find that you need to add more liquid as the soup can become quite thick. You can add water or a little more stock to get the consistency you need.
  • It is important to use smoked bacon as un-smoked will not give you much, if any flavour.
  • This soup is very filling on its own, but it is also really nice served with some crusty, dark, rustic bread.
  • You can add some spinach or other leafy vegetable instead of the cabbage.  In fact, I am sure you can see by looking at the recipe that you can add all sorts of vegetables to this soup base.
  • If you would like to serve this as a starter type of soup, I would suggest removing the pasta and the beans and adding about 25% more stock and about 250ml water.

MinestronePan

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