Winter is truly here, and it's being particularly rude to us this year. The mornings bite like startling bullets and bare feet are no more to be seen. My garden is giving up, the trees listlessly shedding their leaves. We students are studying for the ominous exams. Well, we are trying to study. To this end our bodies crave carbohydrates, throat- scorching tomato sauces and endless cups of tea and coffee for us to wrap our chilly fingers around before we commence with clutching our pens and pencils. It is time for hot water bottles and wrapping up in scarves. It’s a time of stress and sniffles- chewing fingertips, nails and our dry bottom lips. It is time for minestrone.
Thankfully, minestrone is characterised by the varying list of ingredients, which differ from region to region. The very specific region of my fridge resulted in this simple recipe- Use it as a base from which to make your own Italian- inspired bowl of contentment.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or normal oil)
- 4 large carrots, peeled and roughly cut into 0,5cm cubes
- 4 courgettes (zucchinis, baby marrows, as you will), cubed
- 2 tins whole, peeled tomato
- 200ml homemade beef stock (I recommend this recipe - please don’t be tempted to use powder- it’ll kill it. Rather use water if you don’t have stock)
- Dash of good red wine
- 1 tin red kidney beans
- Handful fresh oregano (or basil, or dried if your garden is dying, too)
- About 2 cups cooked, fresh linguini (I happened to have made pasta and chilli-herb tomato sauce the night before, and thus had left over fresh pasta. Otherwise put some fresh pasta in earlier to cook with the soup; and if you can’t get fresh at Pick n Pay then I recommend using noodles or macaroni)
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- Handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
- Salt, pepper, and sugar
- Sauté the onion and garlic in the hot oil until golden. Add the carrots and sauté until the carrots are starting to soften; you can leave the heat on quite high to get some nice colour on them.
- Add the tomato, red wine and beef stock. Add a teaspoon each of sugar and salt. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the beans and simmer 5 minutes.
- At the last minute, add the oregano, and pasta. (If you’re using dried or raw fresh pasta, add it earlier and simmer until softened, remembering that you’ll need to add extra water)
- Adjust seasoning and serve with sliced spring onion and fresh tomato. We spread some fresh basil pesto on rye bread and dipped it in. Warmth from the inside out.
Noted: I got my spring onion from Common Ground’s communal garden… How rewarding to rinse off the earthy clumps and slice up our own produce.