Thursday, 14 December 2017

Recipe: Winter Minestrone

Soup can be a fantastic way to use up leftovers or whatever you have in the garden, getting your 5 a day and warming you up on those cold winter days, and no soup does that better than my Winter Minestrone.

You really could add whatever you like to the base of this soup. The trick is to cut everything to the right size so that the veggies cook evenly and don't just turn to mush. You want a bit of texture in this one.

My recipe features firm favourites from the allotment, but as I said, you can substitute any of the veg for another that you have readily available or that you prefer.

Makes 4 Bowls
Difficulty Level:Moderate
Cooking Time: 35 Minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes 


1 Small Onion
1 Garlic Clove
A few Sprigs of Rosemary
2 Bay Leaves
1 Stick of Celery
1 Large Carrot
1 Beetroot
2 Handfuls of Cavalo Nero
2 Tins of Good Quality Tomatoes
500ml Stock - I use Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder
100g Dried Macaroni
400g Cannellini Beans
1tsp Sugar
1tbsp Tomato Puree
Salt to Taste
Black Pepper to Taste

1. Start by preparing all your veg. This is the time consuming bit, but it can be quite theraputic, peeling and chopping. Here's my recommended chopping dimensions
Onion - As finely chopped as you can manage without losing a finger
Garlic - Crushed
Celery - 1/2cm cubes
Carrot - 1cm cubes
Beetroot - 1cm cubes
Cavalo Nero - Roughly shredded into 2cm wide strands

2. Fry the onion and celery in a tablespoon of olive oil, on a medium heat with the rosemary and bay leaves until soft but not brown. Then add the garlic and carrot and fry for a minute more. Be careful not to let the garlic catch or burn.

3. Add the tomatoes, stock and beetroot and leave to simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes.

4. The soup wont be looking very exciting at the moment, but now for the good stuff. Add in the macaroni, beans, puree, sugar salt and pepper, then leave to simmer for another 10 minutes.

5. You really want the beans and pasta to be al dente rather than mushy so keep a close eye at this point and if for any reason the soup becomes too thick, add a little more stock.
Add the cavolo nero at the very last minute as this will cook in seconds. Don't forget to remove the bay leaves and the rosemary stalks.

Serve with some crusty ciabatta and a drizzle of pesto 

What more do you need on a cold winters day?

This also freezes well, but I like to take the excess to work to help fuel the troops, you might not want to be so generous once you taste it though!

K x 


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