The humble minestrone is the perfect remedy for a freezing winter's day - hearty and warming, with chunky veg, beans and pasta to fill you up. Last term I got into the habit of stopping at Pret for a soup before choir, and the Pret A Manger minestrone is one of my favourites. I thought it was time to recreate it!
This particular recipe is adapted from a Food Network recipe. I used black beans because that's all I had, but it's traditionally made (and excellent) with white beans like cannellini or borlotti. Similarly, I didn't have any macaroni so I used orzo. Adding the parmesan shavings in at the cooking stage gives it a lovely depth.
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
Large handful fresh green beans, chopped (frozen will do)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp dried oregano
Large handful chopped fresh basil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 large tomato, chopped
3/4 cup orzo
1.5l chicken or veg stock
Approx 1/3 cup shavings of fresh parmesan
Salt & pepper to season
Grated fresh parmesan to serve
MethodHeat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan at medium heat, and fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, then the celery and carrot. Fry these for a further five or so minutes, until the celery has softened a bit and the carrots aren't quite so hard.
Chuck in the green beans and herbs, salt (this brings out the flavour), season with a bit of pepper and cook for another few minutes.
Pour in the tinned and fresh tomatoes and stock, and turn up the heat to bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium/low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tinned beans, parmesan shavings and orzo and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the veg is cooked.
Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve with a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan.