Saturday, 14 January 2017

Chunky Minestrone Soup

It's meaty, rich and chunky. The perfect indulgent winter warmer.
Freezes well and defrosts well too without becoming watery.

(I have made both a more watery version, and a thicker version to trial it, and I prefer it thicker and chunky. If you prefer it more liquidy, add more water to the pot when cooking.


3 Small cloves of garlic
1-2 Carrots (I use two)
1 Potato (any size)
2 Balls of frozen Spinach
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
2 Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
Tomato Puree (roughly 2 tbsp, a little more is fine)
1 teaspoon Dried Mixed Herbs
4 Rashers of unsmoked Streaky Bacon
30-60g of Dried Spaghetti snapped into pieces (I probably use whats left in the tail end of a spaghetti pack) and I definitely don't weigh it. Just grab a small handful ;)

(Pinto Beans can be added for the last few minutes before serving if desired or instead of bacon - one of my kids hates them so I exclude them if he is eating this too)

Put a tiny splash of oil (or a few sprays) into the bottom of a deep(ish) pan.
Finely Dice the garlic and add to the pan, setting onto a med-low heat (don't let it burn!)
Peel and finely chop the potato and carrot(s) then add to the pan with the garlic until the garlic has softened or browned. Give it a stir and let the flavours permeate through the veg.

Boil the kettle and add 300ml of boiling water in a jug to the stock cube. Mix until dissolved and then pour into the pan and turn up to a medium heat.

Pour in two tins of chopped tomatoes and your tomato puree - mix well.
Pop your spinach into the microwave for 1 minute to fully defrost - chop it roughly and then toss it into the pan (otherwise i find it all clumps together in one sodden yucky heap and the kids can spot it!)
Add the mixed herbs.

Snap up your spaghetti (4 times per length) and throw it in, turn the heat up to boil and let the pasta cook and the liquid reduce slightly.

Cook your bacon however you like (for this recipe I put them on a sheet of foil in the oven for about 10 minutes to get them dried and crispy) but you can fry it in a pan.

Once your spaghetti is cooked (6-8 minutes ish)  turn the heat back down to low and stir.
When the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove from the oil and snip it up with scissors into little chunks and chuck into the pan.

(add beans if using)

Stir through for a couple of minutes and serve. If you are making it in advance, this soup actually gets better if you let it cool down, thicken and reheat it later on to eat.  

Serving Suggestion: 
I like to toast some pitta breads, cut them up with a pizza cutter and let the kids dip the warm dough in the soup.

Bon appetite!