This is a great way to use up vegetables that are looking past their best, not to mention the old heel of parmesan cheese you were about to throw out. You don’t keep them? Do reconsider it and store them, in a ziplock bag in the freezer, for just such a time.
Not just for minestrone, any vegetable soup will improve immeasurably if you chuck it in.It’s a brilliant example of doing more with less.
This soup is filling and will easily sustain six hungry people. Or four teenage boys, whichever comes first.
Serves 4 with a few serves for lunches
- 2 rashers bacon, sliced into 1cm pieces
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely sliced or diced into 2cm cubes
- 1 large stalk celery, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1½ litres (6 cups)water with 2 beef stock cubes added
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ cups (150g) penne or macaroni
- 1 x 400g tin cannelini beans, drained and rinsed OR 1 cup dried cannelini beans which have been soaked overnight, then rinsed
- 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 30g parmesan cheese, grated, to serve
Heat oil in large stock pot and add bacon, onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are coated and getting soft.
Add water and stock cubes, tomato paste and beans and, if you have it, the old rind of a parmesan cheese wedge that you thought you should throw out.
Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for the next hour. From time to time, skim the impurities off the surface.
Remove the parmesan rind from the soup, then add pasta, zucchini and parsley and turn up heat to a high simmer/low boil and cook until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.
Serve with more parsley scattered across the top and grated parmesan cheese and some crusty bread if you think you can fit it in.
$4.80 for 4 people plus leftovers