Wednesday, 22 February 2012

rosemary minestrone - no croutons required



there's something comforting about knowing you have the power to create a wonderful and warming bowl of soup out of the most basic of ingredients and i'm talking about tinned tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions and cabbage... nothing fancy here... and I have to say that if your a little empty of wallet you couldn't ask for a better way to fill up with wholesome goodness than this...

... Jacs brilliant No Croutons Required challenge this month is all about herbs, which is rather timely as i've just written an article all about the herb garden at Gunby Hall for the brilliant Good Taste Magazine, run by the lovely folk over at Tastes of Lincolnshire.  This free bi-annual magazine comes out in a couple of weeks and i'll post the article then... but writing it has inspired me to punch up the flavour of this soup with an extra sprig or two of my favourite herb Rosemary... 

... whilst it has quite a strong scent and flavour Rosemary can be used in so many ways and compliments so many dishes that I seem to be always using it... it works really well roasted with carrots and potatoes and I think there should be a law out against people who don't use it when cooking mushrooms... the fact that it grows all year round means there should always be a fresh, if dwindling supply in my garden... my pot is outside the back door so even if its the worst of weathers outside I can just open the door a crack and pull off a stem or two!

... rosemary works especially well when crushed with garlic and salt, which I have done here to make the base of this minestrone... sauted gently with the onions and the whole pot is infused with its gently heady aroma...

rosemary minestrone
1 onion - finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic 
2 large stems of rosemary - works out to be about a tablespoon of leaves
1 stick of celery - chopped
1 large carrot - chopped
half a savoy cabbage - chopped
1 450g tin of chopped tomatoes
a handful of left-over fine green beans (optional)
a large handful of teeny tiny pasta (any shape)
2 pints good veg stock

- on a wooden chopping board, finely crush the garlic with the back of a large knife, incorporate the rosemary leaves and a large pinch of sea salt as you crush

- melt a large knob of butter and a dash of olive oil in a casserole dish and gently saute the onions and garlic, till soft and your house smells like a bordello

- add the rest of the hard vegetables, stir and pop the lid on to sweat for 5 mins

- add the tomatoes and stock and the beans and cabbage and simmer gently for at least an hour... throw in the pasta after 40 minutes... if you can make this in the morning and not eat it until the evening then all the better.

eat and of course, enjoy!


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