Even if you love cooking big, elaborate recipes that take all day to put together, most weekdays after work really all you want is a magic recipe that’s ready as soon as possible, is hearty and filling and at least vaguely healthy. It also helps if it’s a recipe that you can vary depending what you have in your cupboards (you might have noticed that this is my default position when cooking – if I ever write a recipe book it will be called Just Throw Everything You Have In, It Will Be Fine).
Well, this minestrone ticks all of those boxes. And once you make it a few times you can basically get it done and dusted and have a big ol’ pot of soup ready in 20 minutes. Joy! The recipe below is a base that will make you an awesome soup on its own, but then after we will talk about VARIATIONS.
- 1 litre vegetable stock (make your own, use the premade stuff, throw some stock powder into a litre of water, whatever is your jam)
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup dried pasta (I use ditalini, but any small pasta shape works well)
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables* (I use one that has peas, carrot, green beans, corn kernels and potato)
- 300g can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix (I use one that’s a mix of basil, oregano and chilli)
Put the stock in a big soup pot and pour in the can of chopped tomatoes, and bring to the boil on the stove. Turn down to simmer, add the pasta and cook for 6 minutes, occasionally stirring. Then add the frozen vegetables, beans and herbs, and simmer until the pasta is tender, again occasionally stirring. DONE!
What else can you throw in it:
– I like the mixed beans for legume variety, but you can go traditional and use cannellini or another type of white bean. Hell, go nuts and throw in chickpeas or lentils instead, I reckon they’d work just grand and then you’d have mutant minestrone, which could only be an Experience.
– You can stir through a handful of baby spinach leaves, or any leafy green, a few minutes before serving for a bit of extra colour and iron.
– You could also top each serving with a few curls of parmesan cheese if that’s your fancy.
This has been another edition of Hayley Doesn’t Want You To Freak Out In The Kitchen, This Cooking Lark Is Easy I Promise.
* I will not be having with any snarky, snobbish comments directed at the use of frozen vegetables, much as I will not brook negative comments about pre-made sauces, stocks, using canned soups and whatnot as recipe bases, etc etc. It is nasty and it is classist and anyone wanting to turn their noses up can take a HIKE.