A Cornish girl's food adventures

Minestrone Soup

I absolutely adore this recipe, it’s wonderfully versatile and makes great use of whatever seasonal produce is available. You can switch the vegetables in and out depending on what you have, what’s in season and what you do (or don’t) like. For example I can’t abide celery so I don’t use it but you can add a couple of sticks if you’re less picky than me.
This is a deliciously hearty soup too, wonderful to come home to on a chilly evening. It’s packed with nutritious, flavourful veggies and filling pulses and pasta. It’s a real meal of a soup. And best of all – it’s super cheap to make, ideal for January and the post-Christmas pinch. It’s also completely vegan, great for those of you participating in Veganuary!

makes a vat!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion/2 shallots
2 medium carrots
400g squash/courgette
1 medium potato
2 fat garlic cloves
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
1 ltr vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can (400g) beans (anything you like)
50g small pasta shapes or spaghetti snapped into short lengths
salt and pepper to taste
50g greens, shredded (anything you like)

First of all you’ll need the biggest saucepan you have because this makes a lot of soup!
Dice the onion, carrots, squash and potato, I like mine fairly small but you can make it chunkier if you prefer. Heat the oil in the pan over a low heat and add the onion, cook gently for a few minutes until it starts to become translucent. Add the carrot and the squash and continue to saute the vegetables over a gentle heat, this helps to release their natural sweetness. Crush the garlic before adding this and the potato to the pan. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a moment or two longer.
Stir in the tomatoes, vegetable stock and herbs and bring the whole lot to boiling point. Let it bubble for a minute or two and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are just starting to feel tender and then add the beans. Simmer for another 5 minutes and then season to taste with salt and black pepper before stirring in the pasta. Cook until the pasta is tender and add the shredded greens just before serving, so that they have just enough time to wilt.
If you don’t need/want this to be vegan then a little sprinkle of grated parmesan before serving is really delicious!

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