The Permaculture Kitchen
In Italian, minestrone literally means ‘big soup’. It’s The Permaculture Kitchen embodied: a thick, filling soup made from a mix of seasonal ingredients. It’s thickened with rice, pasta or potatoes or farro in its many forms. You can use any small or broken up pasta for this.
The taste of your minestrone will depend on the quality of your stock and the quality and freshness of your vegetables. It can be made as a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore meal.
Here are two recipes: one with more spring/summer ingredients and one with more autumn/winter ingredients. Be flexible with the ingredients according to taste and availability.
Paint colours and textures with your ingredients. This list is not prescriptive. The quantities are enough to make a large saucepan’s worth (about 4-5 litres/quarts), 6-8 portions depending on appetites.
You can finish off the dish with a rustic dollop of some home made pesto or herb oil preserve, or an artistic swirl of spicy olive oil.
Good crusty bread is an essential accompaniment to minestrone in our house.
The three keys to great minestrone flavour
1. Gently sauté a good vegetable base
2. Use a well flavoured stock
3. Use fresh and seasonal vegetables
You Will Need
Pour the olive oil into the pan and heat. Add all the vegetable base ingredients and sauté over a low heat, with the pan covered for 10-15 minutes. You want the ingredients to soften but not colour.
If you are using battuto, just bring up to temperature over a medium heat. Then add the stock and bring to a simmer.
Add the non-leaf contents to the pan, stir well and bring back to the simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables and pasta begin to get tender.
Add the leaves to the pan and stir well. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
Check the consistency of the minestrone and add more stock or water if it’s too thick. Check the seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls and decorate with your chosen garnish.
All this needs is some warm bread to accompany it. Some rustic sourdough or ciabatta would fit nicely.