Monday, 13 August 2012

The Heart Of Italy - Minestrone


The best way to describe Italian soups is to call them hearty! The Italians combine fresh veggies with loads of nutritious beans flavoured with aromatic herbs and yummy cheese to make some extremely beautiful soups. Due to its unique origins and the absence of a fixed recipe, minestrone varies widely across Italy depending on traditional cooking times, ingredients, and season. Minestrone typically includes lots of leafy greens, other veggies, and beans. Which to choose? You're only limited by the contents of your refrigerator and pantry.

Whatever the recipe is, the overall flavour is pleasant and warming! It is jam-packed with goodness and will do anyone who eats it the world of good! You can either keep it hearty and chunky or you can cook the soup without the pasta in it, whiz it up in a blender, pour it back in the saucepan with some pasta and cook until the pasta is soft. Delicious! So go ahead and make one using the recipe given below. You will find all the required ingredients at any Nature’s Basket Store!

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

·         1 tablespoon olive oil 
·         1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped 
·         1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped 
·         2 carrots, washed and chopped 
·         2 sticks celery, chopped
·         1 zucchini, chopped 
·         1 small leek, washed and chopped
·         ½ teaspoon dried oregano
·         1 bay leaf 
·         7-8 chopped plum tomatoes 
·         1 large potato, scrubbed and diced 
·         1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained 
·         4 cups vegetable broth
·         ½ cup small pasta shapes
·         A bunch of basil
·         1/8 teaspoon sea salt 
·         A large pinch freshly ground black pepper 
·         5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

1.    Heat a large pot over a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Cook the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, leek, oregano and bay leaf for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables have softened.
2.    Add the tomatoes, potato, chick peas and vegetable broth, then cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes and then verify whether the potato has cooked through.
3.    Add the pasta and cook for 10 more minutes till it has softened. If the soup is too thick for you after cooking the pasta, thin it with a little more broth or water.
4.    Add chopped basil leaves into the soup. Finish by seasoning with a little salt, black pepper and grated parmesan.
EQUIPMENT LIST


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