Minestrone – We all know it is a yummy Italian soup, right? The word comes from the Italian “minestra”, “soup,” or more literally, “that which is served,” from minestrare, “to serve.” And, in Italian, when the suffix “-one” is added to a word it means “bigger or grander”.
So, minestrone is actually GRAND soup! And it certainly is! Guaranteed to be healthy, this vegetable soup, served with a slice or two of Italian bread, is just the ticket to warm you up on a chilly or rainy day.
We at TUNG Brush and Gel love healthy choices for our readers and customers! One renowned British chef has focused on healthy foods, and is known for working with schools to provide smart nutritional choices for their students. So who would provide a better recipe for our readers for minestrone than Jamie Oliver!? We have taken the liberty to change the recipe to include non-metric measurements for your convenience.
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 red onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 green zucchini
- 1 small leek
- 1 large potato
- 1 14 oz. can of cannellini beans
- 2 strips of bacon
- Olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 14 oz. cans of plum tomatoes
- 32 oz. vegetable stock
- 1 large seasonal green – such as chard, savoy cabbage or curly kale
- ½ cup wholegrain pasta
- ½ bunch of fresh basil (optional)
- Parmesan cheese to taste
- Peel and dice the fresh garlic and onion. Then peel and chop (you don’t have to be too precise- rough cut will do) the celery, zucchini and carrots – place all veggies into a large bowl.
- Cut the ends off the leek, cut it into long quarters, rinse and then cut into ¼ inch slices – add to your veggie bowl.
- Scrub, peel and dice the potato. Drain the cannellini beans, (you may also rinse under cold water) and set the potato pieces and beans aside…Slice the bacon finely.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sliced bacon and fry gently for 2 minutes, or until golden. Then add the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, zucchini, leek, bay leaf and oregano and simmer slowly for approximately 15 minutes, or until the veggies have softened. Stir occasionally.
- Add the potato, cannellini beans and plum tomatoes, then pour in the vegetable stock. Stir well, using the back of a spook to break up the tomatoes.
- Cover and bring everything slowly to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through. You will know if the potato is done when you can pierce it easily with a sharp knife or fork. Meanwhile…
- Remove and discard any tough stalks bits from whatever greens you decided to use, then chop coarsely.
- Using a rolling pin or the bottom of a small pot to smash up the pasta into pieces while it’s still in the packet or wrap in a clean tea towel. You can also use a plastic baggie for this purpose!
- Add the greens and pasta to the pan, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. That means the pasta is soft enough to eat, but still have a bit firmness to it. Try some just before the time is up to make sure you cook it perfectly. No shmushy pasta please!
- If you need to liquefy your soup, feel free to add a bit of water or some more stock.
- If you are flavoring with fresh basil, take the stems off, cut up some leaves and stir thoroughly. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then garnish your masterpiece with parmesan cheese…YOU ARE READY!!!
You can tweak the recipes with veggies you have in the house, too. And, if you like, you can substitute the bacon with a bit of salt or “Baco-s” to taste and make this a vegetarian recipe!
In the meantime, thanks to Chef Oliver, for warming us up! And with low sodium, low sugar and low calories to boot!