Monday, 28 March 2011

Spring-time Minestrone

We love our fresh veggies. Our fridge is testament to this and was looking rather full when I opened it yesterday evening. Much as I love them, vegetables have a tendency to go off all at once so I needed a plan for using some of them up.

Having changed jobs just over six months ago, I’m now working in a small town in Somerset. Although I don’t miss the lengthy commute, I do sometimes miss the sights and sounds of the city. Namely, being able to buy my lunch, if I so choose, from a variety of yummy places right on my doorstep. Now, I take my lunch every day and try to ring the changes to keep it interesting. Soup is a popular choice because it’s pretty easy to bung everything in a pot of an evening and simmer it into something tasty.

Now that the sunny Spring weather seems to have subsided into April showers, I looked in the fridge and I saw soup. Now, this might not be a very authentic recipe; advance apologies to all the Nonna’s out there!

I like to use up as much of my veggies as possible and like to cook up the broccoli stem which some people tend to discard without thinking. True enough, it can be a little tougher that the florets but it’s still very tasty. Try it finely diced in soups as a flavoursome filler to make it go further. I’ve had this for my lunch today and it’s a good one bowl meal; the spaghetti means that I don’t feel the need to have bread with it. It's a pretty cheap, quick and easy recipe. The whole thing takes just over half an hour to make, minus the chopping.

Spring-time Minestrone soup
Serves 4

1 onion, diced
1 small swede (or half a large one), diced
1 carrot, diced
2 stick of celery, diced
Stem of 1 head of broccoli, diced
1 red pepper, diced
Half a savoy cabbage, finely shredded
50g spaghetti
800ml vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 tbsp tomato pureé
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped/crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
Sunflower or olive oil

- Gently sweat the onion, swede, celery and carrot in a little sunflower oil over a low heat for 15 minutes or so until tender and sweet.
- Add the broccoli stem and garlic and sweat for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the pepper. Add the tomato pureé to the stock and stir until combined then add to the pan.
- Add the herbs. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Break the spaghetti and cut the cabbage so that it is in bite-sized lengths and add to the pan.
- Cook for a further 5 minutes until the spaghetti and cabbage are tender.
- Serve with shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tip: to make this gluten-free, simply substitute the spaghetti for rice. You can also add cannellini or borlotti beans if you want to make it even more filling. This recipe is vegetarian (if you go for a vegetarian hard cheese when serving) but bacon or pancetta can be added at the start for a meaty flavour.


Ellie said...

Yum. This soup sounds great. I love veggies and I love broken spaghetti!! Thanks :)

Sarah said...

I'm really glad that you like it! :)

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