In Italian, Minestrone literally means ‘big soup’ and this lovely thick hearty winter warmer is anything but small! Really more of a meal than a soup it has everything you need from a meal in one single bowlful. Even if you aren’t a fan of soups, give it a try, my girls don’t like soup as a rule but scoffed this when I first made it!
Chock full of pasta, simple vegetables and some other lovely garden goodies, my version of Minestrone Soup is not only healthy, but it also truly a ‘store cupboard soup’ i.e. most of you will already have all or most of the ingredients in your kitchen so if it’s cold out or you want something warming and comforting, then this is one to try!
Never a traditionalist, I like to ‘faff’ (as my Dad would say) with the ingredients and also add a bit of meat to my Minestrone in the form of smoked bacon and chorizo, but you obviously don’t have to use meat, so this one is included in the veggie section of the blog too! You can also add to it as you please, try adding different vegetables, like parsnip or turnip or the traditional Savoy cabbage or if you don’t like it chunky, then give it a good blending before adding the pasta. Don’t like chunky pasta either? Simple, just snap a few strands of spaghetti into the soup!
Don’t forget the extra touches either, a good grating of parmesan and a sprig of parsley to serve atop your soup, alongside a beautiful chunk of fresh crusty bread and butter! So simple and sooooo good…
This little lot will feed 3-4 with large bowls… keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days in an airtight container, in fact, it tastes better reheated!
- 2 large carrots
- 1 red onion
- 3 celery sticks
- 2 medium potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 900 ml vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (fresh is great but dried has a better flavour)
- Handful of fresh thyme leaves (I use a mixture of common and lemon both from my garden)
- Handful of pasta shells (if you like your soup to keep a lot of liquid then use small shells, if you like it thick, then use large like lumaconi)
- Salt and pepper to season
- Grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley to serve
(THE FOLLOWING IS OPTIONAL)
- 100g smoked bacon
- 75g chorizo (as always I use sweet and smoky, but feel free to use spicy)
- Grab yourself a large and deep saucepan and a frying pan.
- If using the meat, fry it off for a few minutes in the frying pan until browned. While the meat is browning, dice your potatoes, carrots and onion into 1cm cubes, slice your celery and finely chop your garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in the large saucepan and then, using a slotted spoon to drain off the meat fat, transfer the meat from the frying pan into the saucepan.
- Throw the vegetables on top of the meat and stir, leaving them all to cook together over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes until they are all softened.
- Stir in the Liquid Smoke, tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, thyme leaves and oregano and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer the soup for 10 minutes.
- Give the soup a stir and add the pasta shells and allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste and either serve or allow to cool and reheat later (recommended).