Summer Minestrone from Your Own Garden

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I used to have a vegetable garden and in the summer we had so many vegetables that I was at my wit’s end as to what to do with them. Into the soup they went. You can use anything you have on hand. And since it is great if all the vegetables remain crunchy, this soup is actually ready in a jiffy. Excellent soup!

Ingredients

  • 3–4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500–750 g (16–26 oz) vegetables from your vegetable garden, from the greengrocer or even frozen (just don’t tell!): garden peas, broad (fava) beans, broccoli florets, marrowfat peas, zucchini (courgette) and capsicum (bell pepper), cubed
  • 2 × 400 g (14 oz) tins diced tomato
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock, heated
  • 250 g (8 oz) small pasta: mini penne, ditalini (small tubes), conchigliette (small shells), rotelline (small cartwheels)
  • 1 tin cannellini beans or white beans (approx. 400 g/14 oz, or fresh from the garden, of course!)
  • If desired, a piece of parmesan cheese to grate over the soup

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until light brown. Add the garlic. Then add all the vegetables that require some cooking, such as broccoli, capsicum and zucchini, fry briefly and add the tomato.

Allow to fry for approx. 5 minutes and cover with the (hot) stock and pasta. Simmer the soup for 10–12 minutes leaving the lid slightly open. Add the smaller vegetables. Roughly mash the cannellini beans, leaving some of them puréed, and some whole. Add to the soup. Briefly heat the soup and allow to slightly thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the minestrone in large bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve with country bread and tasty olive oil for dipping