Minestrone is an Italian word meaning “the big soup.” It is the name for a variety of thick soup made with vegetables often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season.
Yesterday we walked past this field of gorgeous cabbages looking like huge silvery roses in the sun. I had a cabbage at home and the Minestrone idea just grew out of what I had in the fridge. I love this kind of soup, where you look at what vegetables you have in your fridge and make something hearty, healthy & delicious. You can turn normal everyday vegetables into a rustic farmhouse feast, which makes you feel all Tuscan Housewife for the afternoon….!
Marvellous Minestrone Soup
serves 4-6 vegetarian
- 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed & sliced
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 4 sticks celery sliced (save some leaves for garnish)
- 1 large carrot, quartered lengthways and diced
- 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
- a handful of herbs (I used rosemary, thyme & parsley) chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin/jar cooked white beans(cannellini), drained & rinsed well
- 1/2 cabbage finely shredded
- a handful of swiss chard (acelgas) chopped
- 1 & 1/2 litres veg stock
- 100 gr dried pasta(you can use whatever you have broken spaghetti pieces are the original ) I used a little pine nut shaped pasta called pinones
- salt & black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- parmesan cheese shavings
- you can add any parmesan rinds you may have in your fridge to the pan with the stock for extra flavour
In a large saucepan or frying pan heat 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat and throw in the onion, leek, carrot, celery, herbs & garlic with a big pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to low, stir everything to coat in the oil, put a lid on and cook gently for 25 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, season again with salt & black pepper and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat the veg stock in a separate saucepan. After the tomatoes have been cooking for 10 minutes add the boiling veg stock followed by the sliced cabbage, chard and the rinsed beans. Stir everything well, season again with salt & black pepper and leave to cook for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and leave to cook for about 10 minutes.
Serve in warmed bowls topped with shaved parmesan and celery leaves. A nice rustic bread and a glass of Italian red would be lovely to go with this and drizzle the soup with extra virgin olive oil at the table. Buon Appetito….
The oil in the picture above is the extra virgin olive oil we helped to harvest here. It is honestly the best olive oil I have ever tasted, really fruity. I will be putting it on everything from now on. Expect lots of recipes using olive oil in the near future!!