Minestrone Soup

A delicious, warming, filling soup – a meal in itself!

We costed this recipe in Winter 2016 and it came out at 6 servings £4.26/ 1 serving 71p (using cheese and/or bacon will increase the cost)

Difficulty:👍👍👍

Cost: ££

Serves 6 people


1 large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g bacon pieces, chopped into small pieces (optional)
2 carrots peeled
2 sticks celery
1 clove garlic
2 stock cubes, or 1 heaped teaspoon bouillon powder
About 2 pints boiling water
1 bay leaf
A handful of pearl barley or whole wheat berries (optional)
1 medium potato, peeled
1 parsnip or turnip, peeled
1 courgette topped and tailed
1 pepper, deseeded
A few cabbage or spinach leaves
A handful of cauliflower or broccoli florets
A few green beans topped and tailed
A handful of small pasta e.g. broken spaghetti, macaroni
1 tin of haricot or butter or kidney beans (or similar)
A handful of frozen peas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs -parsley/oregano/basil
(1 teaspoon if using dried herbs)
Salt & black pepper
Grated cheese – cheddar or parmesan work well (optional)

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan and fry the onion (and bacon, if using) over a low heat for 8 minutes.
  2. Cut the carrots into quarters and slice finely. Trim the celery and cut into thin slices. Crush or finely chop the garlic. Add to the onions, stir well and continue frying gently for 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Make up the stock by dissolving the stock cubes/bouillon powder in the water. Add it to the pan (with the barley or wheat, if using) and bay leaf, and bring to the boil.
    Cover and simmer while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
  4. Use whatever of these vegetables are in season/ available – no need to use them all. Prepare the vegetables by cutting them into small pieces or shredding them finely. Add the hardest (e.g. root vegetables) first, and the softer ones (courgettes, peppers, etc.) later. Simmer the soup for a further 30 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta, drained beans and peas/sweetcorn to the pan. Cook for a further 15 minutes – until all the pasta is cooked and all the vegetables are tender.
  6. Add the herbs and taste to check seasoning. Add pepper, and salt if necessary.
  7. Top with grated cheese, if using, and serve hot.

Method

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan and fry the onion (and bacon, if using) over a low heat for 8 minutes.
  2. Cut the carrots into quarters and slice finely. Trim the celery and cut into thin slices. Crush or finely chop the garlic. Add to the onions, stir well and continue frying gently for 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Make up the stock by dissolving the stock cubes/bouillon powder in the water. Add it to the pan (with the barley or wheat, if using) and bay leaf, and bring to the boil.
    Cover and simmer while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
  4. Use whatever of these vegetables are in season/ available – no need to use them all. Prepare the vegetables by cutting them into small pieces or shredding them finely. Add the hardest (e.g. root vegetables) first, and the softer ones (courgettes, peppers, etc.) later. Simmer the soup for a further 30 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta, drained beans and peas/sweetcorn to the pan. Cook for a further 15 minutes – until all the pasta is cooked and all the vegetables are tender.
  6. Add the herbs and taste to check seasoning. Add pepper, and salt if necessary.
  7. Top with grated cheese, if using, and serve hot.

Ingredients

1 large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g bacon pieces, chopped into small pieces (optional)
2 carrots peeled
2 sticks celery
1 clove garlic
2 stock cubes, or 1 heaped teaspoon bouillon powder
About 2 pints boiling water
1 bay leaf
A handful of pearl barley or whole wheat berries (optional)
1 medium potato, peeled
1 parsnip or turnip, peeled
1 courgette topped and tailed
1 pepper, deseeded
A few cabbage or spinach leaves
A handful of cauliflower or broccoli florets
A few green beans topped and tailed
A handful of small pasta e.g. broken spaghetti, macaroni
1 tin of haricot or butter or kidney beans (or similar)
A handful of frozen peas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs -parsley/oregano/basil
(1 teaspoon if using dried herbs)
Salt & black pepper
Grated cheese – cheddar or parmesan work well (optional)


Simply omit the bacon or cheese to make this dish veggie or vegan.

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