Minestrone Soup

 

Minestrone soup is one of those mish-mash foods, like fried rice – it could include anything. The usual minestrone usually has a bunch of veggies in a tomato-based soup; sometimes it has meat, beans and pasta too! 

This version has mild-spiced Italian-style chicken sausage, pasta and loads of veggies. Because this soup contained pasta, there was no need for any bread for this meal.

The soup itself was delicious! The vegetables and pasta had taken on the rich flavor of the soup, which was slightly thick and spicy, with an extremely flavorsome (flavorful) base.

Feel free to substitute any vegetables you like and use any meat you wish, but try for a highly spiced one for maximum flavor – I recommend pancetta or cubed chorizo/salami.

 

MINESTRONE SOUP

Serves 2-4

 

Ingredients

  • ½ t oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 mildly hot Italian-style chicken sausages, cut into chunks
  • 2 large carrots, top and tailed, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium sized red pepper, cut into chunks
  • 2 small courgettes (zucchini), top and tailed, cut into chunks
  • 115 g (¼ lb) mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 x 400 g (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ½ t better than Bouillon chicken/vegetable stock base*
  • 150 g (⅓ lb) dried pasta
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 2 T paprika
  • ½ – 1 t chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

* Better than bouillon is a concentrated paste, which you add water to, to make a stock. If this is not available, use stock cubes or ready-made stock instead of water in step 2.

 

Method

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot. Sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sausage and brown or 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the carrots, peppers, courgettes (zucchini) and mushrooms, stir. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, stock base and enough hot water to be 5 cm (2 inch) above the vegetables.

3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the herbs and check for seasoning. Add the pasta and cook until done*, stirring occasionally. At any time the soup seems a little dry add more water. The soup should be slightly thick, but not broth-like. Serve hot and enjoy!

* This can vary from anything between 5-15 minutes, depending on what pasta you’re using – check the label for cooking times.

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