Bean, Pasta and Bacon Soup (Minestrone)

Afternoon All!

I popped over to my parents this weekend and my mum had made (what we call) minestrone soup. It was absolutely delicious! We used to have this all the time when we were younger and I had completely forgotten about it. It is full of beans, vegetables, pasta and bacon. It is a fantastic chunky soup that keeps you full and satisfied. I thought this was a recipe I had to try myself as not only is it healthy and well balanced, it is also highly economical!

My partner is a carpenter and is always working outside. In the winter months, he loves sometimes hot for lunch to warm him up! I took him home a bowl that my mum had made and he absolutely loved this. So I thought, perfect! I will make a batch and he can heat it up in the mornings, whack it in a flask, and enjoy a tasty, hot lunch.

I don’t always make the healthiest choices when it’s lunchtime when I have nothing prepared. I will often go for something instantly satisfying and usually lacking in anything vaguely nutritious! So with this sitting in the fridge ready to go, I can pop it in the microwave and voila! A hot, healthy and delicious lunch for one.

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Ingredients:

Olive Oil
4x Cloves of Garlic
1x Large Onion
1 pack/300g of Smoked Bacon
1x Large Carrot
Couple of Sticks of Celery
2x Cubes of Beef Stock
2x Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
150g Macaroni (or any micro shaped pasta)
1x Tin of Kidney Beans
Dried Rosemary
Salt and Pepper
Cheddar or Parmesan to sprinkle on top at the end!

Method:

  1. Place a large saucepan on a low to medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil.
  2. I love garlic so I have opted for 4 cloves, but you can add as many as you wish. Chop finely and add to the oil.
  3. Then finely chop the large onion and add to the oil and garlic.
  4. Let the garlic and onion sweat so it becomes translucent and then add the bacon. I always think the finer/smaller the bacon is sliced, the better. Remember this is a chunky soup so it will not be blended at the end.
  5. Then peel and finely chop the large carrot. Add once the bacon is lightly cooked.
  6. I’m not a huge fan of celery but I can never really taste it in soup (so don’t get put off basically). Once again, finely chop a couple of sticks and add to the saucepan.
  7. Allow to simmer for a while until the veg starts to soften.
  8. Then add 2 cubes of beef stock (I usually wait to add the boiling water until all the other ingredients have been added).
  9. Add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and 1 tin of washed and drained kidney beans.
  10. I then added approximately 150g of macaroni pasta. My mum usually makes this with the tiny shell pasta but I couldn’t find this at my local supermarket. As long as it’s a small pasta – the shape doesn’t really matter!
  11. I then added enough boiling water to generously cover all the ingredients. I always think the amount of liquid you add is dependant upon how far you would like to stretch the soup. I like to keep the soup on a low heat for an hour or so and just add more water as and when needed. I tend to have the ingredients covered by about 1cm of water. As the soup cooks the water can often evaporate and the pasta will absorb some of this, so just keep an eye on it and add more as and when.
  12. Add your seasonings to taste (keep it simple with salt and pepper and a bit of dried rosemary). Once again, the seasonings are completely down to you 🙂
  13. Once your pasta is cooked, give the soup a taste and add more seasoning if required. I then turn off the heat and let the soup cool down naturally before pouring in to a large Tupperware container. Obviously if you would like to enjoy this fresh, serve up and enjoy with a couple of slices of buttered bread and a sprinkling of cheddar or parmesan. Yum!

This soup will easily provide 8-10 servings so this will keep me and my partner sorted for lunch for the whole working week. And it gets tastier each day as the flavours develop! I store this in the fridge but it is also fine to freeze.

Share and enjoy and if anyone has any feedback or pointers I would love to hear 🙂

 

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