My minestrone is a hearty meal soup perfect for the cooler months when you need a comfort bowl.
It’s based on the traditional dish, but as with many of my recipes, I use what is available in my fridge and larder.
I have to admit to loving this soup, with or without a chunk of bread.
A perfect vegan soup, if you swap the Parmesan for an alternative and a perfect one pan meal for any tiny kitchen.
Below are the ingredients I used for the photographed version, which can always be swapped with similar but use the same quantity.
Prep and Cook Time: Over 1 hour
Cookware: Large saucepan with lid
- 1 red onion – finely chopped
- 1 leek – finely sliced
- 2 carrots – finely chopped
- 1 medium potato – 2cm dice
- 1 chunk butternut squash – 2cm dice
- 2 garlic cloves – chopped
- 1 tsp dried herbs – to taste
- pinch of fennel seeds (optional)
- pinch of chilli flakes
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
- 2 bay leaves (if available. I have a bay tree in the garden)
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 600ml vegetable stock (1 cube)
- 1 tin cannellini beans – partial drained (any white beans)
- 60g small pasta (I used orecchiette, as was in my larder. You can break up long pasta, too)
- Parmesan rind, if available (I often pop the rind into a soup as it adds flavour and texture)
- 2 generous handfuls spinach leaves (or chopped kale, cabbage …)
- 40g Parmesan – grated
Heat 2 tbsps of neutral oil in your large saucepan and gently sauté the onion, leek and carrots for 10 minutes, stirring, until softened but not brown.
Add the potato, squash and garlic. Combine and cook together for 2 minutes then stir in the herbs, bay, chilli and tomato purée.
Next, pour in the tomatoes and warm stock. Stir well and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and partial cover saucepan with the lid. Simmer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, add the beans, pasta and Parmesan rind, if using, stir well and simmer for another 15 minutes. At this point, I usually remove the bay leaves, as I prefer just a hint of bay, but you can remove them before serving.
By now, your veggies and pasta will be cooked and melting into the stock.
If you are serving the Minestrone immediately, add the spinach leaves, season to taste with salt and black pepper and it is ready to eat. If you are serving later, season to taste and add the spinach just before serving.
Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle with lots of Parmesan and a chunk of bread on the side.
If replacing the spinach with kale or cabbage, they will need 3 minutes cooking time in the soup, as opposed to wilting the spinach leaves.
Sometimes, instead of pasta, I add 60g grains like barley or farro (Italian spelt).