The great thing about minestrone is that it uses everything up; it’s a marvellous way to use all the bits and pieces in the fridge, and make sure that nothing goes to waste. This is a Harvest Minestrone, because its a perfect way to include whatever I have still growing in the garden. You can’t really go wrong, it’s very forgiving. As long as you make a tasty tomatoey base, almost any vegetables will happily go into the melting pot!
I’d been waiting to shell these beautiful cannellini beans and a minestrone seemed the perfect excuse. These alabasta beans on a bed of velvety Kale looked so beautiful I felt as if they should be painted not eaten!
In my veg garden, I often find that there are a lots of one thing and just a few of others. So tossing them all into a rainbow soup together is the perfect way to celebrate our harvest, and it makes such a wonderful wholesome and nutritious dinner too.
Sweetcorn nibs sprinkled like little rays of golden sunshine, and some small pasta grains added for the last 10 minutes or so till tender, soak up all the tomatoey flavours and make it a hearty main course soup..
Serve the soup with freshly grated parmesan on top and some warm ciabatta bread. Such an inviting supper on a damp autumn evening.
I find it’s impossible to make a minestrone without singing along to “Life is A Minestrone” by 10cc – It’s such an old song, but it couldn’t be more appropriate, and once you listen to it, you’ll be humming it for days!
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped.
- 2 sticks of celery finely sliced.
- 1 leek finely sliced, discard the dark tops.
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
- 2 medium carrots, finely sliced.
- 1 medium, chopped courgette or squash.
- 12 sliced green beans.
- 1 sliced sweet red pepper.
- A handful of chopped parsley.
- 1 carton or tin of chopped organic tomatoes (use chopped fresh ones, if you have plenty to use up - no need to peel)
- 1 can of drained, cannellini beans.
- 1 litre of good chicken broth (preferably homemade, but organic bouillon powder will do)
- The stripped corn from a cob of sweetcorn (only because I had lots in the garden and it looked pretty!)
- A handful of orzo pasta grains.
- Grated parmesan and sliced ciabatta to serve.
- Take a large, heavy bottomed pan, and add the onions, garlic, celery, leek, and carrots. Cook for 15 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally so they don't stick.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except the kale and orzo, and stir well.
- Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
- Add the shredded kale and orzo just for the last 10 minutes.
- Feel free to experiment with different vegetables depending on what you have available. I only added the corn because we have lots in the garden at the moment, and it really added to the bright colours of the dish.