I can’t think of any better way to welcome the winter. A steaming hot bowl of minestrone soup on a cold winter’s night really hits the spot!
There are numerous versions of minestrone soup around and there seems to be no hard and fast rules on the exact ingredients to be used. That is the beauty of this dish; you can use whatever you have in the fridge.
Typically, minestrone should at least contain pasta and beans. The rest can be improvised.
This particular recipe is the one that I have settled upon, after a number of experiments of my own. I have used both chicken and beef stock, however the beef stock produces a heartier flavour.
Adding meat is not necessarily typical of minestrone, but what can I say…the meat loving men in my family can’t seem to last one night time meal without the addition of meat!
One of my favourite aspects of this soup is the use of my fresh, home-grown tomatoes, parsley, basil and oregano. 🙂
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 carrots, diced
1 potato, diced
250 g zucchini, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
2 large bay leaves
750 g diced tomatoes
5-6 cups good quality beef stock
125 g green beans, cut into 2cm pieces
125 g pasta, such as penne
2 cups of cooked and drained borlotti beans
300 g diced bacon or ham
Grated parmesan cheese and parsley to garnish
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the carrots, potato, zucchinis, basil, oregano and bay leaves. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the stock, bacon pieces, green beans, borlotti beans and tomatoes and continue cooking for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until all ingredients are cooked.
Remove the bay leaves. Ladle into soup bowls and top with grated parmesan and parsley.