Minestrone soup recipe

After the festivities many wish to lighten and simplify their eating and maybe lose a little weight. Minestrone, the Mediterranean vegetable soup, is perfect for this purpose.

There are many variations of minestrone, but they all rely on a mixture of fresh seasonal vegetables. The word minestrone describes a thick soup in general. In Italy, pancetta, Italian bacon is often added, but the meat is just as often left out. In Italy, pesto is stirred in the cooked soup whereas in Nice they add pistou. Pistou is made of crushed basil, olive oil, garlic and salt. Good pistou from Provence is sold in Nice supermarkets, the greener it is the better the taste. The richness in the soup comes from a dollop of olive oil and freshly grated parmesan which are added just before the soup is served.

In winter, in Nice supermarkets they sell packages of Italian minestrone vegetables. There are chopped cabbage, borlotti beans (I usually pick these out because they won`t be fully cooked in an hour as the other vegetables), leek, celery, lentils, Swiss chard. Most minestrone recipes include pasta or rice. I leave them out because I like to serve my minestrone with good whole wheat bread.
Any leftover soup can be frozen.

4 servings

500 g package of minestrone vegetables
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
400 g tin chopped tomatoes
400 g tin white beans, rinsed
700 ml vegetable stock made from 1 cube organic vegetable stock and 700 ml water
3 tsp pistou from Provence
4 tbsp olive oil
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Warm the rapeseed oil in a heavy casserole and soften the shallots and garlic for about 10 minutes.
Add the minestrone vegetables, water, vegetable cube and tinned tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature and let simmer partly covered for an hour. Stir now and again.
Rinse the white beans, add to the soup and let simmer for a while so that they are heated.
When the soup is cooked, stir in the pistou.
Divide the soup in bowls. Add the parmesan and olive oil just before serving. Serve with good whole wheat bread.


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