Recipe – Minestrone Soup

I do love a good soup, they can be warming, full of flavour and very healthy for you. My absolutely favourite soup is Minestrone, an Italian classic of simple, fresh ingredients, it cannot be beaten. It’s also fairly simple to do, just add more and more ingredients to a big pot, and in this recipe you’ll need a BIG pot! It’ll easily feed 8 people, but it keeps really well in the fridge for a week or freeze down for longer.

You will need:

  • 1 glove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 courgette, peeled and finely diced
  • Handful of chopped greens (a small bag of chopped greens and leeks are available in most supermarkets)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut up into smallish squares
  • 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Two 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 litre vegetable stock, using two cubes
  • 120g spaghetti, cut into 1 inch lengths

Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large pot with a lid, add the bacon and fry over a medium heat until just turning brown.

Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, courgette and oregano, cooking over a medium/low heat for 15 minutes with the lid on, until the veg has softened. Stir regularly.

Add the potato, beans, tomatoes and vegetable stock. Season well with salt and pepper. With a dinner knife, cut up the tomatoes roughly. Cover with the lid again and simmer for 30 minutes.

Finally, add the spaghetti and greens to the pot, stir well and simmer without the lid for another 10 minutes, until the spaghetti is just cooked. You can add extra water if the soup is too thick for you.

Serve straight away for best results, a sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese on each bowl makes a real difference. Otherwise turn the heat off and let cool. You can warm it up again later from the hob or the soup will keep in the fridge for up to a week. You can even freeze in batches for future meals or work lunches!

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