The recipe I wanted to share with you today is for a fabulous, store cupboard friendly, “Almost Instant” Minestrone Soup.
In this strange new world which we all find ourselves living in, store-cupboard friendly recipes have become very popular and indeed, we need them now more than ever. That doesn’t equate with boring however! This soup proves that simple ingredients and easy methods can certainly create something which is quite delicious!
This fabulous soup not only uses things that most of us have stored, but it is also very adaptable to simple substitutions. Its quick and easy to make, which are also plus’s and the biggest bonus of all is, it is incredibly tasty!
I guarantee this is bound to become a family favourite whether you are living in lock-down or not. The modesty of ingredients and ease of preparation alone make this a truly winning recipe!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS SOUP
The simplicity of these ingredients and their adaptability is one of the things that makes this an incredibly wonderful recipe.
|¼ pound of dry spaghetti (you can use plain or whole wheat)|
|5 cups of hot vegetable stock|
|1 (14-oz) tin of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice|
|2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables|
|4 TBS prepared basil pesto|
|Olive oil to drizzle|
|Coarsely grated Parmesan cheese to serve|
HINTS AND TIPS
The ingredients for this recipe are not written in stone. Feel free to substitute what you do have in the place of something which is asked for.
- I did not have a bag of mixed frozen vegetables in the freezer. What I did have was a bag of mixed casserole root vegetables, containing potato, carrot, turnip, baby pearl onions and celery, as well as a bag of frozen peas. I decided to mix some of each in place of what I normally would have used, which would be a mix of peas, corn, carrots, lima beans and green beans. What I did have worked very well.
- I did not have any tins or cartons of vegetable broth, but I do have a kettle and I had vegetable stock gel pots/cubes. I simply added some of these to boiling water to make up the vegetable stock.
- I also did not have any fresh pesto or jars of basil pesto. I did have pesto pots, which are a concentrated type of basil pesto. I used two of these with a small amount of olive oil whisked in to loosen them a bit.
- Normally I would grate my own cheese, but alas I did not have a block of fresh Parmesan Cheese. I did, however, have a huge pot of already grated Parmesan cheese in the freezer. Since you want the cheese for this to be coarsely grated, this worked well.
- I did not have regular spaghetti. I had whole wheat spaghetti, which I was happy to use. Don’t let yourself be limited by the type of pasta you do have. You can use linguine, pasta stars, broken macaroni, etc.
- I never need to use any seasoning in this recipe as I find that the pesto and cheese add enough, but you can just according to your own tastes what you need or don’t need as far as seasoning goes.
- I did not have any crackers to serve the soup with. Crusty bread would work well. I had a stale baguette, which I cut into slices, sprayed with some spray oil and baked in the oven until crisp. You could sprinkle these with some Italian seasonings if you wanted to.
HOW TO MAKE ALMOST INSTANT MINISTRONE SOUP
If you are using a long pasta such as spaghetti or linguine, you will want to break it into smaller pieces. I have a simple trick for doing this.
⦁ Take a clean tea towel and lay the spaghetti lengthwise in the towel.
⦁ Wrap the spaghetti up in the towel to enclose it
⦁ Grab the tea towel by both ends and run it down over the edge of a countertop or table. As you do so the pasta will break into smaller bits.
⦁ If you think the bits are still not small enough, it is very easy to break them up with your fingers at this point.
If you are using stock cubes or gel pots, whisk them into boiling water to dissolve them completely.
Whisk your tinned tomatoes, undrained, into the vegetable stock. Place over high heat and bring to the boil.
Add your pasta to the boiling tomatoes and stock. Allow to simmer at a high bubble for about six minutes, until the pasta is cooked to al dente.
Stir in your frozen vegetables and cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes, until your pasta and the vegetables are cooked and tender.
Ladle the hot soup into four heated bowls, dividing it equally amongst the bowls.
Top each serving of soup with some of the pesto, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of some of the grated cheese.
Ideally with the proper frozen vegetables my soup would have been a bit more colourful and the vegetables more uniform, and a bit smaller in size. These things were not really that important in the scheme of things. The end result was still an incredibly delicious bowl of soup!
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING
This makes an ideal and simple first course when you are entertaining. For those times when it is going to be used as a first course, you don’t want your guests filling up on the soup before the main course. I would serve it simply with a few croutons on top, or some grissini.
When this tasty soup is going to be the whole meal, I would definitely serve the soup with some crusty bread or biscuits.
This soup also makes a great lunch box addition, popping the hot soup into a thermos to carry along to work or school.
At the end of the day, this is a deliciously simple recipe that your family and/or guests are sure to love! You will love it to, if only for its simplicity and ease of preparation!
- 4 ounces of dry spaghetti
- 6 cups hot vegetable stock
- 14 ½-ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
- ¾ pound of frozen mixed vegetables
- 4 TBS Basil pesto
- A drizzle of olive oil to serve
- Coarsely grated Parmesan cheese to serve
- Wrap the spaghetti in a clean tea towel.
- Twisting it closed on both ends and grabbing it firmly on both ends, run the tea towel down over the edge of the counter-top to break the spaghetti into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- Measure the stock into a saucepan and add the tomatoes, undrained. Bring to the boil.
- Add the spaghetti and cook for about 6 minutes, just until the spaghetti is almost al dente.
- Add the vegetables and bring back to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 2 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender.
- Ladle the hot soup into heated bowls.
- Drizzle some pesto and olive oil over each and sprinkle with Parmesan to serve.
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.