At the beginning of last week when the weather turned nasty I decided it was time for soup again – it’s hard to beat a hearty vegetable soup. I’d bought a big variety of vegetables at our Market during the weekend so had plenty to go into a minestrone. In Italy there are lots of different versions determined by where you live. My version is a mix of typical minestrones from Genoa, Milan and Tuscany. The Genoese influence is the basil pesto that I served with it.
To a large pot add the following (you don’t need to be precise about the quantities, add whatever vegetables you like):
- 2 finely sliced leeks
- 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic
- 2-3 sliced courgettes
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 small packet of broad beans which have been shelled – add half now and half just before serving
- 1/2 a shredded Savoy cabbage
- 2-3 sticks of chopped celery
- 1 peeled and cubed celeriac
- a generous handful of fresh round beans which have been cut into short lengths
- a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil
- You could also add any of the following:
- Diced pancetta or bacon which you’ve gently fried in the pot before adding the veges
- 1 cubed aubergine
- 2-3 diced carrots
- a handful of peas
- 20-30g of dried mushrooms which have been soaked for 20mins
Once everything is in the pot, cover with water or a mix of water and chicken or vegetable stock.
Simmer gently for 2 hours.
Add the rest of the broad beans, a tin of drained white beans, a bunch of chopped spinach and some long grain rice or a short pasta such as penne.
Season with seasalt and freshly ground pepper. Add a bit more olive oil. Cook till the pasta is ready – about 5-10mins.
Serve with basil pesto, grated Parmesan cheese and rustic bread – it’s a whole meal.