Minestrone is a tummy-warming, thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta and potatoes. Minestrone has always been a symbol of traditional Italian cuisine and part of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
This soup is a delicious, hearty, full meal in a bowl. It’s worth making double the quantity and freezing some for a quick meal you need in a flash or to fill a flask for work. With a slice or two of fresh bread (toasted and buttered, is my preference) and some grated parmesan dusted over the top, it’s something that should easily earn a place on your weekly family menu.
Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, peas, stock and tomatoes. Because it’s made with lots of vegetables, greens and various beans and pasta, this is a meat-free dish that provides you with super nutrients that slow ageing and help you stay fit.
Hearty Minestrone Soup
- 15ml vegetable oil
- 4 rashers of bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 small leek, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 potatoes, diced
- 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 400g cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup small pasta shapes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated parmesan cheese to serve
- In a saucepan, heat the oil and fry the bacon for a few minutes
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and potatoes
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion softens
- Add the stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring to the boil
- Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender
- Add the pasta and beans and cook until the pasta is al dente – still chewy and firm
- Check to see if the potatoes are cooked by piercing them with a knife – if the knife pierces easily then the potatoes are done
- Season well and serve, topped with parmesan cheese and some crusty rustic bread (like focaccia) alongside for dipping We keep all the little odd pasta shapes in a jar, we always find there are a few leftover in the packet of each kind. These can then be put in a plastic bag and crushed by bashing them with a rolling pin. These are perfect for minestrone soup.
This soup is very forgiving and you can use any vegetables and or greens you find are in season or you have available in the in the fridge or even frozen vegetables.