Today is a new recipe for the ‘Challenge Me’ category. It isn’t
souper super difficult at all but it does take some time to make it the best it can be.
Minestrone is a hearty Italian soup, packed with vegetables and goodness. It’s rich in tomato flavours and is bound to use up any left over veg in the fridge. For me, and everyone else who has this soup, there is nothing to dislike. It’s everyone’s type of soup.
Minutes spent in the kitchen: 1 hour or so (approx)
Please note you can use any veg you want for this recipe. This is just the ingredients for the one I made this day.
-1-2 litres of veg/beef/chicken broth, anything you have in the house basically
-Tomato paste (tinned tomatoes will be fine as well)
-3 celery stalks
-1 medium onion
-1 half of a cabbage
-2 sprigs of fennel
-A couple of rosemary sprigs
-A couple of thyme sprigs
-4 garlic cloves
-A few bay leaves
-Couple of handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
-Salt and pepper
-Handful of fresh basil
Begin by dicing all of the celery, carrot, spinach, cabbage and fennel into small chunks no bigger than 5cm. The veg won’t be blended so bear this in mind when slicing your vegetables. Pour all of these into a large dish with olive oil and season. Place on medium heat and stir every so often to start to cook them.
Next, slice your onion and tomatoes into half or thirds and place onto a baking tray with rosemary, thyme and garlic. Drizzle olive oil and season and place into a fairly hot oven, about (180-200 degrees). We are now going to leave these to roast to get addition flavours to the soup. You can leave them to roast for about 20 minutes.
Now the rest of the vegetables are cooking in the oil, you should see they start to soften and wilt. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the tomato paste or if you are using tinned chopped tomatoes, add a good few tablespoons. Add the bay leaves to the veg.
You now want to add the broth to the soup and allow all of the vegetables to ‘soak’ and cook fully inside the broth. Turn the heat to low so the soup simmers gently. When the roasting herbs, garlic, onion and tomatoes are nice and roasted, they should be slightly brown and soft, place them into the large dish. I’d advise to leave the rosemary and thyme as it is and place them inside. If you are adding pasta to your minestrone, cook the pasta at this point. When the pasta is cooked, add it to the soup.
By now the soup will start to have a really rich tomato flavour. Season the soup with a good few pinches of salt and pepper. If the vegetables are all soft and cooked, you can remove the herb sprigs and serve up. If you have time, it is nice to leave it on a low heat so the stock can get richer, for about 40 minutes extra.
You can now serve the soup up with a few leaves of fresh basil and grated Parmesan on top. Perfect with a sprinkle of black pepper.
If you want this to be a more filling dish, I would add pasta.
I hope you like the recipe and I would love to hear from you if you will be giving it a go.