MB is packing for their move to Norwich where her other half is now Director of Design. A number of our friends (including my Bollywood Beauty's other half) have moved over to Lotus ever since DB became its CEO. I have volunteered to help with the boxes this week and at the same time catch up with her. It is sad to know that soon we won't be seeing them much (if at all) anymore.
It's a foggy morning. I have decided to cook dinner before I go over to her house. A quick Minestrone done the way I like it. Come evening though, I would pour out a bowl for myself and then puree the rest into a vegetable soup for the kids. They do not like to see anything resembling a vegetable lying in their soup.
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 big Garlic clove (diced)
1 Onion (diced)
3-4 ripe Plum Tomatoes (cubed)
1-2 Potatos (cubed)
2 Carrots (cubed)
2 Zucchinis (cubed)
Half a Leek (sliced)
1 Turnip (cubed)
150g Champignons de Paris (sliced or cubed)
1 Celery stalk (sliced)
2 Tbsp Oats
1 Tbsp Barley
150g Bacon (optional)
Small Italian Shell Pasta (made of rice or wheat flour)
Thyme, sage, bay leaves, basil, parsley
3 Tbsp White Wine
1 litre Chicken stock
Fresh Chilli (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a soup pot or large deep non-stick pan, fry the garlic and onion in the olive oil till fragrant. If using bacon, add it in now. On the other side of the pan, fry the potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, celery, turnip, mushrooms and other vegetables.
Cook the small pasta briefly in another pot. Drain and set aside. You can use small shells, stars, macaroni, pennetti etc. Even cooked rice. I used Italian-made small rice pasta shells this time.
Add in the fresh herbs and stir in the white wine. Pour in the hot chicken stock.
The Italians may cook this soup for a few hours, but I only cook it for 30 minutes as I do not like to eat my vegetables soggy. I didn't use beans or peas since I am not fond of them, but you could, of course. In which case do think of soaking the beans beforehand if you are using dried ones.
Add in the cooked and drained pasta about 5-10 minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The minestrone is even better re-heated the next day. But not with the pasta inside as it would be really soggy and taste horrible.