Ah, as autumn slides across the farmland landscape, lightly brushing the pink and white cosmos flowers as it exhales the last breath of summer, my mind goes in a singular direction: Soup. I love autumn. It’s definitely my favourite season. It’s due to its colours, the nip in the morning air, the mist of Bashewa and the last bountiful harvest before winter slices my veggie garden to brown curly bits. However, the spinach is standing proud, and the last of the zucchini’s are still blossoming. The last of the tomatoes are red and ready, and the chillies and Peppadews are begging to be bottled. Which calls for an autumn veggie soup. And there is no better than the humble Italian minestrone.
This minestrone recipe is like a bedrock, upon which you can build new flavours and new variants, and, if you stick to the knitting, it will be delicious every time.
|Onions||5 large onions|
|Red Onion||1 large red onion|
|Fennel bulbs||2 medium bulbs|
|Fresh rosemary||2 sprigs|
|Green Peppers||2, diced|
|Carrots||2, medium, sliced|
|Fresh Spinach||1 handful, stems removed and sliced in ribbons|
|Red Wine||1 glass|
|Chicken Stock||1,5 liter|
|Baked beans in Tomato Sauce||1 440g can|
|Spaghetti||80g broken in small bits (optional)|
|Parmesan cheese||100g, finely grated (for serving)|
|Smoked Bacon||1 packet|
|Zucchinis||4 medium zucchinis|
How I go about it:
- Make a soffrito of the onion, garlic and fennel in the butter. Simmer until brown and sticky.
- Add the bay leaves and the rosemary. (The kitchen fills with the most wonderful aroma, attracting all to come and take a peek).
- Deglaze the pot with the cup of red wine.
- Add the carrots, zucchini, green pepper, tomatoes and bacon.
- When the zucchinis are softened, add the baked beans, the spinach and the chicken stock.
- Cook at medium heat for about 30 minutes.
- Serve with some roasted milky croutons.