Recipe: Minestrone soup

I’m not sure there could be a heartier, more warming soup than this one. This filling concoction, so substantial it’s bordering on stew territory, is perfect for these midwinter days: filling, comforting, and packed with goodness to help balance out all those mince pies and glasses of prosecco.

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It’s also super adaptable. You can switch out the borlotti beans for cannellini, butterbeans, or whatever you have in the cupboard. The savoy cabbage can be substituted with cavolo nero or kale. You can adjust the soffritto ratios to your liking. Add more or less stock if you prefer a thinner or thicker soup.

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This recipe makes about six portions. Buon appetito!

Minestrone soup


Ingredients

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 leek
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • A sprig of rosemary or thyme
  • 400g can of borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 50g soup pasta, such as stellette, orzo or ditalini
  • Approx. 100g savoy cabbage (about 6 leaves), sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to season
  • Optional, to garnish: parmesan, good extra virgin olive oil, toasted rye crumbs, or lemon zest

Directions

  • First, make your soffrito: cut the carrot, onion, celery and leek into small, uniform dice. Heat the olive oil over a medium-low heat in a large pan and add the prepared vegetables. Add the leaves from your rosemary or thyme (discarding the stalk), chopped if necessary. Heat the mixture gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring often – you want the vegetables to soften and sweat a little, but not brown.
  • Add the drained beans, chopped tomatoes and stock, and stir through. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the pasta, give it a good stir (otherwise your pasta might get stuck to the base of the pan!) and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
  • Finally, add the cabbage and fold through; allow to cook for a few minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and serve with a grating of parmesan, or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or a sprinkle of toasted rye bread crumbs, or even some fresh lemon zest to give it a lift.

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