Minestrone verde

I have to admit I don’t deal with summer heat well. I much prefer cold weather as I find it is so much easier to get warm than it is to stay cool. I love rugging up on the couch in the middle of a thunder storm, with a cup of tea (and maybe a nice baked item) and a good book. Plus winter is great soup weather.

Soups are also great meals on the run, whether at work or between work and racing off to rehearsals when I’m in a show. I like to try new soups in winter so that I keep things interesting and don’t get sick of one soup.  So when I was looking for my latest ‘my cookbook library’ recipe, this new soup fit the bill.

I like this recipe as it is very simply to make, full of vegetables but filling with the addition of the butter beans. This makes a huge pot full and I have placed a few serves of it in the freezer. I will update this post once I’ve tried it after freezing. This recipe could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the pancetta and using only vegetable stock. Cut the vegetables as fine or large as you like (however the larger you slice them, the longer they will take to cook). Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. Once everything is chopped, the actual cooking of the soup is easy and only a few steps.

Book recipe number: 4

Number of cookbooks owned: 200+ (I didn’t cheat, I got given two by my lovely French teacher as she couldn’t use them any more as she no longer eats meat)

New book credit: 0.8 (1 more to go before I am allowed to buy another cookbook)

Minestrone verde

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small leek, cut in half and finely sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 120g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 baby fennel bulb (or celery), thinly sliced (about a cup)
  • 3 litres stock (I used a combination of chicken and vegetable stock)
  • 100g spaghetti – broken into rough pieces
  • 2 medium zucchini – chopped
  • 200g beans – sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins of butter beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 bunch of broccolini – chopped (about a cup)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • Flat leaf parsley (chopped) and shaver parmesan to serve (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Using a large stock pot or saucepan, place over a medium-high heat and heat the oil. Add the leek, fennel and pancetta and cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for a few more minutes until the leek and fennel start to soften and the pancetta crisps (about 5 – 10 minutes total).
  2. Add the stock and bring to the boil and then add the zucchini and spaghetti (if your spaghetti cooks  quickly, cook the zucchini for 5 minutes first before adding the spaghetti – check the packet for cooking times). I cooked the zucchini for five minutes before adding my spaghetti (which normally cooks in 8 minutes) and cooking for a further five minutes before adding the next ingredients.
  3. When the spaghetti is almost cooked, add the beans, butter beans and broccolini and cook for a few more minutes. Season to taste.
  4. Once all the ingredients are cooked, remove from the heat. Add the spinach leaves before serving. Place the soup in bowls and top with parsley and parmesan.

Adapted from Homemade by Anna Gare – Minestrone Verde