A delicious minestrone soup made with vegetables which are seasonal in autumn.
There is no set recipe for minestrone principally because this soup is based on leftover vegetables. In true Italian fashion, nothing is wasted. So in autumn they use leftover vegetables which are seasonal at that time of year. This autumn minestrone soup uses carrots, onions, courgettes, celery and tomatoes as the vegetable base.
1 large onion (or two small ones)
Large can of cannellini beans (400g / 14oz)
55g / 2oz of Fusillini pasta or similar
4 slices of smoked pancetta or streaky bacon
2 medium carrots
2 celery sticks
2 large cans of chopped tomatoes - 800g / 28oz in total
700ml / 1¼ pints of warm chicken stock (or vegetable)
3 cloves of garlic
Small handful of fresh basil
A good handful of spinach
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons of extra virgin oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and slice the carrots.
Top and tail the celery then finely chop it.
Top and tail the courgettes, slice them in half lengthwise and then slice.
Chop the pancetta / bacon into small pieces.
Finely chop half the basil (stalks and leaves)
Roghly chop the spinach
The cannellini beans can be substituted with most other beans. The choice of pasta is up to you, we suggest using fusillini because it is made up of bite sized pasta. If you use something like spaghetti then break it into smaller pieces before adding to the soup.
Add the olive oil to a frying pan on low to medium heat then add the carrots, celery, pancetta / bacon, chopped basil and onions. Fry them gently for about 20 minutes stirring frequently. The vegetables should be fully softened but not browned. Turn the heat down if they start to brown.
Transfer the contents of the frying pan to a large pan, add the bay leaf, tomatoes and courgettes and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.STEP 2
Add all the remaining ingredients except the remaining basil and spinach and stir the ingredients well. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.STEP 3
Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your taste.
Sprinkle in the spinach, stir it into the soup well and simmer for a final three minutes.
Serve the soup into warm bowls, sprinkle each with some torn basil leaves and crusty bread.