We thought we were done with wintery soups, so we’d tucked this baby away for the season. However, 2020 has been full of surprises, so we’re not sure whether to be amused or annoyed at these wintery temps on the East Coast today. What the what, people! So we’re pulling out our trusty old, warming friend, ‘Minestrone It’s Cold!’ to feed our souls.
This was made with on hand ingredients in quarantine conditions, so substitute away, you really can't mess this up! Chickpeas can stand in for cannellinis, peppers for zucchini, omit the spinach if you haven't got any, but we do suggest the wine, whether it's in the soup or in your glass!
May the warmth be with you and may May actually show its true colors. Oh, and 2020, if you’re listening, we’re done with the curveballs! Thank you! Xoxo Kirsty
Ingredients for 4 servings
15 oz. (425 g) can cannellini beans, drained
1 bay leaf
1 small potato
1 small tomato, crushed
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery
4 bacon rashers, chopped
1 zucchini, cut into small cubes
1 28 oz. (793g) can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of red wine
1 handful of chopped spinach, or baby spinach, per person
19 fl. oz. (565ml) vegetable stock
1/2 cup (55g ) orzo
salt & pepper
parmesan or pecorina romano to serve
Add the beans to a pan of water with a bay leaf, squashed tomato and potato – this will help flavour the beans and soften their skins. We’d never used this method before but it makes a huge difference! Cook until tender – check by tasting, they should be soft. Dried beans can take up to an hour, fresh ones could be ready after 25 minutes. Drain (keep about half a glass of the cooking water), and discard the bay leaf, tomato and potato. Season with salt, pepper and a splash of oil. Set aside.
Whilst the beans are cooking, heat a few glugs of olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and bacon. Sweat on a low heat, with the lid slighlty ajar, for 15 to 20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the zucchini, tomatoes and red wine. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Now add the spinach, stock, beans and orzo. Stir and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked.
Taste, and season with salt and pepper. If the soup is looking too thick, add the reserved cooking water from the beans. Serve sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan, a crusty loaf of bread and a hearty glass of red. Enjoy!
Note: If you think you’ll have leftovers, or have members of your party (i.e. kids) who don’t care for beans as we did, serve those separately. Make it a Minestrone Bar with ‘toppings’ of parmesan, orzo and beans on the side so everyone can choose their add-ins!
adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe