I love minestrone soup it’s a hearty soup without being too heavy and is flexible in terms of what seasonal vegetables you put in it. This is what I used in my latest minestrone along with garlic and herbs, you’ll see some frozen tomatoes which I blanched, skinned and froze when we had a glut a few months ago. Other good ingredients are green beans, lentils and celery.
In a large thick bottomed saucepan I heated some olive oil and fried a couple of onions (one onion and a couple of sticks of celery would be a good option too) then I added a chopped pepper, some large red chillies (you can use a red pepper) a chopped carrot, two chopped courgettes, and the mushrooms and about 4 cloves of crushed garlic and some celery salt (regular salt would be fine). I fried these for a while until they began to soften and then added the tomatoes (a tin of tomatoes is fine) covered them with boiling water (you can use stock) to which I added a tsp of marmite and some mushroom soy sauce, some herbs de Provence and 1/2 tsp of chilli powder (optional – you can use paprika instead). I covered the pan and boiled for a few minutes before adding the chopped up cabbage and then added it. Finally I added a can of butter beans (you can use lentils if they are dried use about half a cup and add them when you add the water) and about 100g of spaghetti which I snapped into smaller pieces about 4 cms long. I covered the pan and simmered the soup of about 15 minutes and then added some fresh dill. It’s good if you cook it in advance and the let it stand a while and reheat it as this allows all the flavours to combine. I grated some parmesan cheese on the top before serving and served it with some bread smeared with garlic and olive oil and toasted on a griddle. It’s meal in itself and will feed a crowd or keep in the fridge for several days. My partner Tom, who isn’t vegetarian, likes it with the addition of some Thai chilli shrimp paste spice it up more.
‘Copy’ by my sister Lucy….