Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recipe: Green Vegetable Minestrone

This is a lovely tasty summer soup, wonderfully fresh tasting with the seasonal green vegetables and fragrant fresh herbs! The hint of savoury smokiness from the bacon makes it taste wonderful as well. This year I am trying to grow my own french beans from seed, so im hoping perhaps in a couple of months I might be able to make this dish with my own homegrown beans! Stellini (sometimes called Astrini) is the MOST adorable pasta i've ever seen- it's all diddy! They are tincy, star shaped pasta (hence the "Stell" or "Astr"- latin routes for the word star) that i got from my local farm shop. If you can't find it, add some little macaroni instead, and give the macaroni at least an extra 5 minutes of cooking time. You can also, of course, make this soup vegetarian by using veg stock and getting rid of the bacon.

Green Vegetable Minestrone (serves 6) £1 per person, with bread and butter

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for garnish)
1 red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 rashers smoky bacon, diced
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock (or a mixture)
2 bay leaves
2tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ tsp dried thyme
120g spring greens
50g tenderstem broccoli, sliced
50g french beans, sliced
50g Sugarsnap peas, sliced
90g very small pasta
50g frozen peas
Finely grated parmesan and torn basil for garnish

1. Sautee the red onion, celery, carrot, bacon and garlic in the olive oil, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock, bay leaves, parsley and thyme, and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
2. Add the spring greens, broccoli, green beans and sugar snaps, and cook for five minutes. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes. Add frozen peas and cook for a further 2 minutes.
3. Season to taste, garnish with parmesan, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a few torn basil leaves.

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