Saturday, 4 August 2012

Minestrone Soup with Garlic Bread

We (GC - my husband, JK - elder boy, MK - younger boy and myself) absolutely love soups. It is a staple in our household, especially during the cold winter months. It keeps you warm and cosy and is both comforting and nourishing at the same time. Of all the soups I make at home, the Minestrone Soup tops our list.

This is an Italian stew like soup which looks like it was made with left over vegetables from other dishes. However, there are claims that the soup was created to be what it is now and is not a by-chance soup. Though the main ingredients for the soup are onion, carrots and celery, any seasonal vegetable can be used to prepare this soup. Sometimes chicken or meat are also added to it. The recipe for Minestrone soup is as varied as the number of cooks in this world who prepare it. There is no one authentic or traditional recipe that you can find, even in Italy.

The recipe here is adapted from Perfect Italian by Parragon Books. It has a few authentic Italian recipes and dishes that is not usually found in the Italian Restaurants in Melbourne. This book is very close to my heart and very dear to me because it was the first birthday gift I got from MK when he was only 1 year old. (Of course, GC went shopping for it!).

I omitted pasta from the recipe because JK and MK loves to have their soup with toasted garlic bread. Also used more stock than recommended in the recipe to get a thin, light broth which is again my kids' choice. (After all, I cook for them and anything I make should appeal to them). And added some garlic and green chilly to add some kick to the soup. The vegetables are cooked till tender that they melt in your mouth and the soup is perfect accompanied by toasted garlic bread. (For a thicker broth, feel free to reduce the amount of stock used in the recipe or add more tomatoes).

Makes: 8 - 10 serves
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 2 large green chilly, minced (adjust to taste)
  • 1 1/4 cup carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 cup zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups savoy cabbage, stems removed and leaves shredded (or green cabbage)
  • 3 1/2 cups red rascal potatoes, skin on, roughly chopped (or any firm potato of your choice)
  • 1 x 400g can diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1 x 420g can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 litres chicken stock (reduce it to 1.5 litres for a thicker broth)
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Freshly shaved and grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
1. Heat oil in a large heavy-based stew pan. Add onion, garlic and green chilly and saute` over low heat for 5 minutes or until softened. Add carrots, zucchini, celery, cabbage, potatoes and diced tomatoes and stir well. Salt to taste. Cover pan and cook for 10 minutes. Pour in stock, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hr, until vegetables are tender. Add beans, parsley and 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese and stir through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into warm soup bowls, garnish with shaved and shredded Parmesan cheese and enjoy hot with garlic bread.

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