Thursday 2 December 2010

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine. It is essentially a vegetable broth with whatever vegetables are in season at that moment. So if you do not like one of the vegetables below you can easily remove it. Also if you want it vegetarian just remove the bacon.

The process of getting it together is actually fairly simple. The one comment I would make with my own recipe is that I was unable to locate an Italian bean such as cannellini or borlotti so I used red kidney beans. If your beans are fresh or dried you would need to obviously cook them first.

Serves 4

125g smoked pancetta or bacon
2 red onions
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 medium sized potatoes
1 leek
½ head of fennel
3 cloves of garlic
1 courgette
200g Spinach
200g Red Kidney Beans 
Bunch of fresh basil
1 litre Chicken Stock
Glass of red wine
2 tins of plum tomatoes
100g dried pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Cooking Utensils
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Potato peeler
Rolling pin
Large Saucepan

- Peel and chop into even sized pieces your onions, leeks, carrots, celery, potatoes, courgette & fennel
- Coarsely chop your spinach and wash thoroughly
- Finely chop your garlic & the stalks from your basil
- Prepare your litre of chicken stock
- Place your pasta in a clear bag and with a rolling pin break up into small pieces
- Put 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan to medium heat and add your bacon, onions, leeks, carrots, celery, potatoes, fennel, garlic & basil stalks
- Sweat the vegetable mixture for 15-20 minutes, leaving the lid ajar on the saucepan and stirring at regular intervals
- Now add your tomatoes, courgettes & red wine and simmer gently for 15 minutes
- Now add your spinach, stock, beans & smashed pasta
- Stir and continue until the pasta is cooked
- Season with Salt & Pepper
- Serve with sprinkled torn up basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese


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