Thursday, 26 February 2015

Getting better - minestrone soup for the soul

We're all in the process of shifting these rotten bugs, and I always turn to soups to help. There's just something about a hot bowl with lots of veggies and other good things in it that makes me feel better.

It was actually a suggestion at Slimming World that I try making soup - one of the things I struggle with is snacking. Biscuits and tea had become a bit of a habit during my pregnancy and then to 'keep me going' when breastfeeding. It was a habit I needed to shift, and happily I seem to have managed it. That said, fruit in the middle of winter is only ever going to have a limited appeal, and a cup or bowl of soup keeps me going nicely. This is the second time I've made my minestrone and although it's not in the slightest bit authentic I do really like it.

My minestrone (serves 6-8)

1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 sticks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 peppers - I use red and yellow, diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 box passata
1 big splodge tomato puree
2 big handfuls of small pasta (or just break up some spaghetti)
2 pints of chicken/ veg stock
Fry light

Spray a big saucepan with Fry light and soften the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes or so. If it starts to stick, add a splash of the stock
Add the other veggies, give the pan a good stir
Add the tomatoes, pasta and tomato puree, and fill the tomato tin up with water and add that too
Add the stock and leave to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes
After the soup has been simmering it should be nice and thick - add the pasta and if it feels like it might need it, another tinful of water
Turn the heat up so the pan's at a gentle boil for 7 or so minutes to cook the pasta through.

It's now ready to serve, you could garnish with shredded basil, and if you're not on Slimming world or dairy free (or both!) a big handful of grated chese in the middle of the bowl would be fabulous.

Don't feel restricted by this recipe though - if you have tinned beans, then add some for some extra fibre and protein (and if you're me to make it go a bit further although this makes lots and lots). Lardons would add some extra flavour, or even chopped leftover ham - if you've done a ham in Coca-Cola lately it's a great way to use up the end of the joint. Which is now making me want to do another ham. If you've got some courgettes or mushrooms, they'd be nice additions too.

I don't serve this with bread, because of the pasta. But I know that soup is always better with bread for dunking.

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