I thought I’d give the weather a bit of a nudge this week. If I make a spring soup, our wintry weather is bound to go – isn’t it? Well, we’ll see.
I fancied a lighter soup with a good range of fresh veg, so opted for a spring vegetable minestrone. Most recipes for this soup, no matter how ‘chefy’, can be summed up as: pick your favourite green veg, add stock, add pasta and cook until ready. My recipe is no different! I’ve explained what did below, but I must stress that this is a rough guide, if you don’t like an ingredient, substitute it with one you enjoy. Also think about your leftovers, is there anything suitable lurking in your fridge or freezer? If so, bung it in.
The only ingredient I bought for this recipe was a cabbage. I didn’t need it but it looked too good to leave on the shelf. Everything else is either a store cupboard staple or a handful of veg originally bought for other dishes on my menu this week. I also benefited from two techniques I employ to minimise food waste.
- Keep a large, airtight jar and save leftover bits of dried pasta. I’m sure you know the bits I mean – broken shells and sheets, small amounts left in the bag etc. Minestrone doesn’t need to be perfect, so this is a great opportunity to use them up.
- Save the rind from hard cheese such as Grana Padano to add more depth and flavour to your soups.
Spring Vegetable Minestrone
Serves 4 – 6
Suitable for Vegetarian diet
- Vegetable stock – 1 litre approximately
- Oil – 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- Garlic – 2 generous teaspoons of lazy garlic
- Spring onions – 4 roughly chopped
- Celery – 2 large stalks, finely chopped
- Courgette – 1, diced
- Soya beans – 2 handfuls
- Sliced green beans – 1 small handful
- Tender-stem broccoli – 3 sprigs, chopped
- Asparagus – 6 small spears, keep the heads whole and finely chop the stem
- Peas – 2 handfuls
- Cabbage – 3 large leaves, chopped
- Rind from Ganda Padano – put it in whole, no need to do anything with it
- Pasta – I used enough dried pasta to fill a cereal bowl
- Pesto – I had a jar of shop bought in the fridge, so used that
- Heat your oil in a large pan and add your spring onions, celery, courgette and garlic. Cook until soft.
- Add all your veg and stir.
- Cover with your vegetable stock. Make sure you have 2-3 cm of stock above your veg to allow for the pasta expanding.
- Add the pasta and Grana Padano. Add more stock as it cooks if needed.
- Bring to the boil and simmer until the pasta and veg are cooked.
- You can stir though some pasta at this stage if you want.
- Remove the cheese rind and serve.
- Top with a teaspoon of pesto.