WHAT IS MINESTRONE SOUP?
An Italian Nona (grandmother) once told me that Minestrone Soup was invented to use up leftovers but was so enjoyed that it became an Italian classic.
WHY MINESTRONE IS A GREAT FAMILY DISH
- Make-Ahead - Minestrone Soup can be prepared in advance and just needs heating before serving. It is more than a soup; the addition of rice or pasta turns it into a satisfying meal.
- Vegetable Rich - This is a great way to serve vegetables; a lot of vegetables. And, although there are a few must-have vegetables in Minestrone Soup it is a great dish to add any little bits of other vegetables that you might have in your fridge or indeed that are in season.
- Easy to Make in Individual Portions - You can make this recipe in one pot and then remove individual portions for young children, before seasoning.
HOW TO MAKE MINESTRONE SOUP
- Heat oil in large saucepan; cook chopped onion, minced garlic and sliced leeks for 2 minutes.
- Add to pan, diced celery and carrots and sauté for a further 5 minutes
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring for 2 mins.
- Add in stock & tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approx. 20 mins.
- Add beans and pasta and cook for a further 10 mins
- Add peas in the last two mins.
- Mix Up the Veggies - Six vegetables are included in this minestrone soup – onion, celery, leek, carrots, peas and tomatoes (technically a fruit). However, you can easily add some grated zucchini, or diced pepper into it. Some greens such as cabbage, spinach or curly kale also make a delicious addition.
- Rice Lovers - My kids love this soup simply because it contains pasta and anything with pasta is a winner in their eyes. However, you can also make it with rice as a tasty alternative.
- Pasta Variety - In the pictures, I used Stelline pasta (tiny stars, pierced in the centre). They are a fun shape for kids and good soup pasta. You can replace with any smaller pasta. (e.g Conchigliette (baby shells), Corallini (short pasta tubes)) or macaroni / elbow macaroni.
- Add some Meat - This Minestrone Soup, as it stands is suitable for vegetarians. However, some diced sautéed pancetta or Italian sausage can be added to suit meat lovers.
- Change the Texture - If your kids are nervous about seeing vegetables in their meals or struggle with the different textures, then perhaps you could try blending the soup before adding the beans and pasta.
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- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- ½ Large leek, cleaned and finely chopped
- ½ tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Celery stick, diced
- 1 Large carrot, diced
- 2 tbsp Tomato Paste (puree)
- 1 litre (4 cups) Vegetable stock (can use chicken stock)
- 1 can (410g) Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 can Cannellini Beans, drained
- 68g (½ cup) Small pasta
- 40g (¼ cup) Peas
- Heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion, garlic and leek for two minutes. Then add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 mins.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 2 mins.
- Add the stock, tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approx 20 mins.
- Add the beans and pasta and cook for a further 5- 10 mins (according to pasta packet instructions.) Add the peas in the last two mins.
- Delicious served with freshly grated parmesan and fresh oregano.