There is nothing like a hearty soup on a chilly winter’s evening. Some soups are more like a meal and that is certainly the case with this Minestrone.

I serve it up for dinner with a big loaf of warm bread and sometimes a salad afterwards and that is dinner for everyone. When the children were at school I used to fill their thermoses with the left overs and they would have it for lunch the next day. The other children would crowd around and ask for some, in the end I sent enough for several kids.

This soup is Italian in origin and doesn’t have a fixed recipe. The word “minestrone”, comes from the italian word minestra, “soup,” or more literally, “that which is served,” from minestrare, “to serve.”

There is no set recipe for Minestrone as it’s made from what’s in season and differs from region to region.  I change my recipe according to what I have bought at the markets but I always include Borlotti beans. These are available in cans in supermarkets or in winter you can buy them fresh. Fresh borlotti are a real treat and I am often seen haggling with green grocers for a better price if I buy five kilos.

I hope you enjoy my recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients

4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 onions chopped

3 garlic cloves diced

1/2  Savoy Cabbage Chopped finely

4 carrots diced

2 zucchini chopped

1 Bottle of Tomato Passata

2 cans of borlotti beans

1/2 cup of chopped parsely

1/2 celery chopped into small pieces

2 potatoes diced.

1 litre of good quality vegetable stock

water

salt and pepper

Italian herbs such as oregano and basil

Parmesan cheese and olive oil to garnish

Method

In a large saucepan pour olive oil. Place over a low heat and sauté onion and garlic until soft and onions are see-through.

Then add cabbage and carrots and other vegetables and continue cooking. Pour stock over the vegetables then and add 1/2 litre of water.  Add the bottle of tomato passata.

Leave to simmer for a half hour.  Later  add borlotti beans, and parsley. Leave to simmer for as long as you like but at least an hour..

When serving ladle into shallow soup bowl and grate fresh parmesan cheese over the soup and drizzle with a good olive oil.

You can add some pasta if you want. On this occassion I added some spaghetti.

 

These are the fresh Borlotti beans that you could use instead of the canned variety.

 

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