Traditionally an Italian thick vegetable soup, however the beauty of this recipe is really you can add whatever takes your fancy, the addition of bacon or chicken can take this basic broth to a whole new level.
My take on this hearty soup is vegetables, beans, pasta and sometimes lentils, I do use chicken stock as I prefer the additional depth it adds but certainly water can be used if pure vegetarian is your preference.
My latest discovery is using beetroot leaves, they add a lovely earthy taste, I don’t use the stem but you can if you like the texture. Ensure the leaves are fresh do wash very thoroughly as they can be a tad gritty. To think all of these years I’ve also just cut them from the roots and discarded them
I find the addition of Parmesan rind gives a thick cheesy feel. Throughout the year I always keep the rinds and any pieces that have toughened up a bit in a zip lock bag in my freezer, a fabulous addition to soups and pasta sauces.
My recipe is a good place to start, I’m sure though you will add your own special touch to this either from what is available or your own taste preference. Amounts also can be varied according to the pot you use, what’s in your fridge or simply your favourite ingredients.
Preparation time: 10-15 Mins
Cooking time: 30-45 Mins
3 Carrots – dice one very finely, chop 2 slightly larger
2 Celery sticks – dice finely
1 large onion – dice finely
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic – crushed
2 litres chicken stock (or water)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 zucchini – chopped
Silver beet half a bunch – chopped
Beetroot leaves 6 or 8 – chopped
2 cups soaked and boiled beans cannelloni / barlotti ( or one can)
150 grams small pasta
1 piece of Parmesan cheese rind
Add the oil and finely diced carrot, onion and celery to a large pot, I use a 4 litre stockpot. As the pot heats stir the ingredients and add a pinch of salt. The salt will help the onion release juice, keep everything moving so it doesn’t burn. Once the onion is looking translucent, add the garlic and additional carrot.
Add the stock, tomatoes and Parmesan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, taste and add salt and pepper accordingly.
Add the beans and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Finally add the softer veg, zucchini, and the greens and pasta and simmer for a final 10-15 minutes.
Once again taste and add pepper and salt if required.
The beauty of this recipe is you can continue to simmer as long as required, I tend to make sure I add the pasta in the last 10-15 minutes so as not to be too over cooked. If I’m making a large pot for use another day, I sometimes leave the pasta out until I’m am reheating to serve and add it then.
To Serve, add grated Parmesan and a spoon of pesto if you happen to have some in your fridge.
This keeps well in the fridge and freezes well too.