Go away for three weeks and suddenly it’s winter. Which to me means soup! Mr Grumpy and I are very happy to have soup for our evening meal. The Princess not so much. I can guarantee complaints if soup is on the menu, but the complaints can be muffled somewhat if I serve soup ‘with bits’.
Soup is a great meal. It can easily be made in advance and reheated. Most soups freeze well, and if a pot is left it in the fridge for a day or two the flavour only improves. A thick, luscious soup ‘with bits’ should satisfy the healthiest appetite (and the staunchest critics). Particularly if you serve it with a nice loaf of fresh bread.
The best way to get soup past The Princess is to turn it into a liquid pasta dish. This minestrone is a regular in our house. I just add lots of pasta to increase the ‘bits’. It does thicken quite a lot on cooling, but I just reheat it on the stove, adding a slosh of water to thin it out. I also normally double the quantities and freeze leftovers in individual portions for lunch through the week.
Serve it in warm bowls with grated Parmesan to sprinkle over. Grated cheddar would probably work just as well. And tell your Princess your having pasta for dinner.
Speedy Minestrone Soup
To make a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.
- 6 rashers bacon chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 large celery stick chopped
- 1 L chicken stock
- 400 g tin plum tomatoes
- 400 g tin cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 3 handfuls of pasta
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt & Pepper
- Grated Parmesan and bread to serve
In a large pot, gently fry the bacon until the fat starts to render.
Add the olive oil and onion. Fry the onion until it starts to soften.
Add the garlic, carrot and celery.
Continue to fry until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the chicken stock and bay leaf.
Bring the stock to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Add the beans, tomatoes and pasta.
Crush the tomatoes into the soup with the back of a spoon.
Continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve in warm bowls with grated Parmesan.
Recipe NotesIf your bacon rashers are large then use three instead of the six specified above.
I prefer a small pasta shape for this soup. Add as much or as little as you like, bearing in mind that the more pasta you add, the less liquid there will be in the final dish.
The soup will thicken on standing, as the pasta will continue to absorb the stock. Add a little extra stock or water when reheating to thin the soup out.