Everyone is cooking up a storm as we spend a lot of time at home in isolation. Jamie Oliver is doing his bit with his fabulous series Keep Cooking and Carry On.
I recently saw Jamie cook Minestrone from the series on an Instagram video, and “instantly” had to cook some too. The great thing about this recipe is that Jamie says use whatever is in your cupboard or fridge – don’t be afraid to chop and change ingredients!
4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon, optional
1 clove of garlic
2 small onions
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sticks of celery
2 large handfuls of seasonal greens, such as savoy cabbage, curly kale, chard I used white cabbage and Swiss chard
1 vegetable stock cube1
1 x 400g tin of quality plum tomatoes
2 x 400g tins of beans, such as cannellini, butter, or mixed I used cannellini and black eyed beans
100g dried pasta I used pappardelle and tricolour pasta
Parmesan cheese , to serve
extra virgin olive oil
Put a large shallow casserole pan on a medium-high heat.
Finely slice the bacon, if using, and sprinkle into the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stirring occasionally while you prep your veg.
Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion, adding the garlic to the pan with the bay leaves as soon as the bacon turns golden, followed by the onions.
Trim and chop the carrots and celery into rough 1cm dice, adding to the pan as you go. Remove and finely chop any tough stalks from your greens and add to the pan. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly, or until softened and caramelised.
Crumble in the stock cube, pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with your spoon, then add 1 tin’s worth of water.
Pour in the beans, juice and all, then add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Shred your greens and sprinkle into the pan, top up with 600ml of boiling kettle water, then add the pasta. Cover and leave to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pasta is just cooked and the soup has thickened to your liking.
Season the soup to your liking. Jamie serves with a granting of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves and sometimes a dollop of pesto. I just went for the basil – that was all it needed for me.
A note: I love this soup because it’s so thick! You can vary the consistency by cooking a little less to retain more liquids, or, once cooked, thinning with a little water.
The soup, if it’s really thick could be served on toast or bread. I would definitely recommend sprinkling with Parmesan or a cheddar and putting under the griller for a substantial snack!