Warming Minestrone


I know, soup again!  I was going to do something else first but I have such a cold so I needed something comforting and what better than a hearty bowl of soup? I like my soups spicy so I've added some chillies but you don't have to.  Don't worry if you don't have the exact ingredients, this recipe is pretty versatile so don't be afraid to substitute the herbs & veg for whatever you happen to prefer/already have in.

Ingredients for 4-6 people
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-4 chopped up chillies (you can leave these out if you don't like spice)
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • 1/2 of a squash, diced 
  • 1 tin of chickpeas (alternatively, any kind of beans/a handful of lentils/pre-soaked yellow split peas will do I just fancied chickpeas today!)
  • Approx 75g/a large handful of pasta (I used rigatoni but any other pasta shapes will do nicely)
  • 500g of passata (you can use a tin of chopped tomatoes if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 400-500ml of veg stock 
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, and thyme - sage, rosemary, and/or, bay leaves would go just as nicely)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of agave nectar or 1 teaspoon of sugar to taste
  • 1-2 tsp of olive oil 
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Recipe
  1. Saute off the onions and chillies in the olive oil
  2. Once the onions begin to go clear, add the garlic & saute further
  3. If the pan begins to brown, splash a small amount of the veg stock to keep it moist
  4. Throw in the chopped veg and brown off a little
  5. Add the passata (or chopped tomatoes) and half of the veg stock
  6. Add the chickpeas/beans
  7. Add the herbs then bring to the boil before allowing to simmer
  8. Have a taste and add more herbs, salt, and pepper as you see fit - best do this a little at a time as you can always add more but you can't take away!
  9. Allow to simmer for a little longer, adding more stock if needed
  10. Have another taste, add the agave or sugar if you think it needs it 
  11. At this point, before you add the pasta, the soup should still seem a little watery (the pasta is going to thicken it for you).  If it's not, add a little more stock and bring back to the boil
  12. Add the pasta and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pasta and veg is all cooked 
  13. Serve with crusty bread (or the pictured homemade focaccia mmmmm)
  14. Get it in your mouth! 

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