Sunday, 11 October 2015

Minestrone Soup.

Fun fact: There's actually no standard recipe for the ever-popular minestrone soup.
It's just a hearty Italian soup full of season vegetables.
Use this as a guideline.
You'll want to include the basics (onion, carrot, celery, canned tomatoes, stock, garlic, and herbs), but beyond that this soup is a blank canvas.
Try adding pasta, greens, corn, different beans, potatoes, or pre-cooked sausage.
Add wine, if desired, and cook until it's almost entirely reduced.

In Italian to denote largeness you add –one/-ona/-oni to the end of the word:
- minestra - a soup, becomes minestrone - big soup.
...It is cooked very slowly over a low heat...a stir every now and then.
The ingredients enter the pot one by one, as each one joins the previous one in the pan it is given an attentive and gentle 5 minute sautè before the next ingredient is added.

My version:
- cut everything - small cubes!
1 onion (I prefer red) onions, chopped
1/2 leek, white part only, washed and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small *courgette/zucchini, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 can of 400g white beans (cannellini or navy), drained
1/2 can of 400g Chopped Tomatoes
2 tbs orzo (better separately boil)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
herbs, chilli - optional
1 liter vegetable or chicken stock


Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
Add onion, leek, celery, carrot, zucchini, and garlic, season with salt and pepper.
Stir to coat with oil and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, orzo, herbs and stock.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, adding cannellini beans in last 10 minutes of cooking.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, as desired.
... if you find the soup is looking too thick before it has finished cooking add a little more water.
Soup will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.

*courgette/zucchini - Seasonal vegetables of your choice (at the moment, 1 courgette, diced, handful of fresh peas or broad beans, half a head of fennel, diced, 3 large leaves of cavolo nero, shredded)

Adapted from: How to cook perfect minestrone soup | Life and style | The Guardian

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