27 June 2012

Best ever cheats' minestrone soup

It's a cheat because it only takes 30 minutes to make.  Best ever because it is the best ever.  I cook lots of this every winter.  Thought I should share it with you.

You will need:

Olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 or 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic
2 or 3 carrots, sliced
2 or 3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 red capsicum chopped
1/2 cauliflower, broken into small florets
700gm bottle of tomato passata
A big handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
250gm of dried pasta (shells or macaroni)
4 to 6 cups of chicken stock
440gm tin of drained red kidney beans
Salt and pepper
Fresh parmesan cheese

1.  Heat the oil in a pot and saute the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes until soft.
2.  Throw in the carrots, celery, capsicum and cauli and saute for a couple of minutes to start the cooking process.
3.  Add the passata (a big tin of crushed tomatoes works as well), stock, basil and pasta and simmer until the pasta and veg are tender - about fifteen minutes.
4.  Add the kidney beans in the last five minutes - just long enough to heat them up really.  Season with salt and pepper as needed - will depend upon the stock.
5.  Seve with parmesan cheese and a bit more fresh basil.  No one will ever know it only took half an hour.

How many serves?  I figure that each cup of stock, along with all the other good things, equates to one adult serving.  This recipe doubles easily if you need a larger volume of soup and have a big cooking pot.

If you need to say that this recipe isn't vegetarian (does chicken stock help it to cross that line?) then frying some bacon or salami with the onion and garlic works well, adds nice saltiness and will cover that base.

And it freezes well.

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