A hearty, warming bowl of soup is just what the doctor ordered as we hastily approach December.
And while it is stocked at pretty much every supermarket in the country, it’s far more fun to make it at home.
Jamie Oliver’s minestrone soup is a delicious dish that everyone will love. It serves eight people, so is ideal for family dinners.
Jamie wrote on his official website: “Hearty and nutritious, minestrone soup is a tasty crowd-pleaser and is super-easy to tweak according to the vegetables you have in the house.”
The recipe is “super easy” to make, according to the chef, so even kitchen novices can take a stab at it. Have it on the table in just an hour and 20 minutes.
1. Peel and thinly chop the garlic and onion. Trim and roughly chop the carrots, celery and courgette. Chuck the vegetables into a big bowl.
2. Chop the ends off the leek, quarter it lengthways, wash it under water, then cut into slices around 1cm. Transfer to the bowl.
3. Scrub and dice the potato. Drain the cannellini beans and set aside. Thinly slice the bacon.
4. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and whack on a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry a little for two minutes, or until it is golden.
5. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, courgette, leek, oregano and bay and cook slowly for around 15 minutes, or until the veggies are soft. Ensure you are stirring occasionally.
6. Add the potato, cannellini beans and plum tomatoes, then the vegetable stock. Stir thoroughly, breaking the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.
7. Cover the pan with a lid and bring the veggies to the boil slowly. Simmer for around 30 minutes, or until the potato is fully cooked.
8. Find any tough stalks on the greens, then remove and get rid of them. Then, roughly chop.
9. Use a rolling pin to smash the pasta into pieces while it’s still in the packet or wrap in a clean tea towel before bashing.
10. Pierce a chunk of the potato with a sharp knife to check if it’s cooked. If it pierces easily, it is.
11. Transfer the greens and pasta to the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Al dente pasta is firm to the bite. Have a taste right before the time is up to make sure it’s cooked well.
12. If needed, add a splash of stock or water to loosen.
13. Pick over the basil leaves (optional) and stir in. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Grate over some Parmesan if you’re a cheese fan. Serve on its own or with a slice of wholemeal bread if you want a more filling meal.