Minestra di verdure (Minestrone)
(Traditional Puglian vegetable soup) (serves 4 or more)
A minestrone soup is known throughout the world. Like so many classic dishes, there are practically as many minestrone recipes as there are minestrone cooks! It is a wonderful soup that can be eaten all year round - its component ingredients changing with the seasons.
Some people love it natural, with just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some add grains or pasta, some eat it cold and some eat it hot with a slice of toasted bread at the bottom of the dish. A well-made minestrone always allows for variety. It’s the ideal a comfort food when you want a hot light meal at the end of the day.
This is our family’s recipe given to me by Auntie Lucia and includes pancetta (which can be omitted if cooking for vegetarians) and shell shaped pastina (little pasta). Do vary the vegetables to suit your taste and season.
4 tablespoons of Terre Di San Vito extra virgin olive oil for cooking
Terre Di San Vito extra virgin olive oil for pouring when serving
1onion finely chopped
3 stalks and tops of celery diced
Approx 250g pancetta diced (can use: lardons, bacon or ham)
2 Potatoes diced
3 Carrots diced
3 Courgettes diced
3 Large peppers diced
1 large aubergine diced
6 large tomatoes or 1 tin of plum tomatoes chopped
1 cabbage or greens diced
Water/stock to cover
If possible, the rind of a chunk of parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
200g grated parmesan cheese
½ Packet pastina (or any pasta of choice)
Preparing the dish:
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat
When warm, add the onions, Pancetta/lardons and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
Then add the potato and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the chopped courgettes, peppers, aubergines and give them a good stir.
Now add the chopped fresh or tinned tomatoes, the rind of the parmesan cheese and the water/stock, a little salt and pepper and bring it to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, add cabbage, cover and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, cook your chosen pasta/pastina until ‘al dente’ (that means with a bit of a bite to it!) and set aside.
Serve the soup in individual bowls sprinkled with some of the pasta then top with grated parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper.
In Puglia and especially in our family, we always drizzle our extra-virgin olive oil over the top – it gives it an incredible flavour!
Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.
Adjust the vegetables to suit you and the season.
This will keep in the fridge for 3 days and will taste even better!
Serve with a bottle of our fabulous Terre Di San Vito Apeneste white wine.