The arrival of autumn signals the start of soup production for me. Such a great work packed lunch and a nice change from the sandwiches and salads I’ve been eating all summer. For some reason though, I seem incapable of making soup in anything but army-sized quantities. Whilst this might seem like a good thing – providing squirrel-like soup stores for winter – I don’t have a freezer. So bulk soup production means I end up eating soup every day all week. You would think I would learn. More importantly though, no freezer also means no ice cream, no ice cubes and no frozen peas. First world problems anyone??
Anyway, today’s recipe is a delicious, hearty soup to warm your cockles as autumn sets in. It is bursting full of vegetables, with borlotti beans and pasta to add a bit of bulk. The surprise ingredient (well, for anyone who hasn’t seen the soup’s name anyway!) is pieces of parmesan rind. Not only do they add fantastic flavour and texture, it’s a great way to make use of left over parmesan rind that you would normally throw away.
As with most soups, you can adapt the contents to match what’s in the shops/your fridge. I’ve used borlotti beans, macaroni, carrots, tinned tomatoes, savoy cabbage, onions, and celery. But you could easily substitute the macaroni for any small pasta, or broken up spaghetti. Cannellini, haricot, or adzuki beans would work just as well, and you could add some bacon or pancetta for even more flavour. And if you have a freezer, just double the quantities to keep you in soup all winter!
Vegetable and Parmesan Minestrone
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
100g savoy cabbage, thick stalks removed and finely shredded
1 parmesan rind, about 5cm by 2cm, chopped into small cubes
100g macaroni/broken spaghetti/other small pasta
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and celery and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the parmesan, beans, stock, and tomatoes, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the pasta and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
4. Add the cabbage and simmer for a further 5 minutes before serving.
The soup can be made up to 4 days in advance.