So I was thinking what is easy for tea also flavoursome and filling that doesn't take long to cook, and also there will be leftovers for the weekend. It came to me minestrone soup, I haven't cooked it for a while.
Now there are many recipes for this soup this is my version, sometimes I will start the soup with some diced bacon or pancetta if I have it, otherwise I leave it out.
I don't put zucchini in it, nothing puts me of minestrone soup than if I get a spoonful of zucchini chunks Yuk.
Most minestrone recipes use kidney beans, but any can of beans can be used, what ever you have in the cupboard.
I can get it cooked from when I start to cut up the vegetables to when I am ladling it in the bowls in about 30 - 35 minutes, so it is really good recipe for when you are in a hurry.
1 380-400 gm can beans, drained & rinsed, 3 stalks celery finely diced, 2 medium carrots finely diced, 1/2 red onion very finely diced, 2 tbsps tomato paste, 2 litres chicken stock - if you want to make the soup more hearty use beef stock, 2 cups tomato passatta, 1 tsp dried parsley or 2 tbsps fresh parsley chopped, + 2 tbsps fresh chopped parsley, 3/4 cup dried pasta, small shells or noodles, 2 large potatoes peeled and diced into 2 cm cubes - you can use more if you like lots of potatoes, salt & pepper to taste, 2 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated, optional - 3 rashers bacon rind remove or 4 thin slices of pancetta, cut into lardons
In a large pot heat 3 tbsps olive oil, add celery, carrot onion & bacon/pancetta if using. Cook 4 -5 minutes or until the vegies start to soften and the bacon has started the brown. Make sure you stir it to ensure that nothing burns.
Push the vegies to the sides, put the tomato paste in the centre, stir for approx 1 minute, then stir into the vegies. Add the potatoes & garlic stir to coat with tomato. Add stock, parsley & passatta, bring to the boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add pasta continue to simmer covered until potatoes and pasta are cooked. Ensure you stir frequently once pasta has been added so it doesn't sink to the bottom and stick.
Once pasta is cooked add beans, salt & pepper. Simmer 2 -3 minutes. to ensure the beans are heated through.
Ladle into deep bowls sprinkle with extra parsley, have chunks of crusty bread for dipping sit down and enjoy.
Now you can grate parmesan over the top or if you add a generous dollop of pesto it becomes soupe au pistou, the choose is yours.