Requires: 30cm heavy stock pot
In a heavy stock pot, start by making the soffritto (sautéed base flavouring of onions, carrots and celery) for the Minestrone soup. To make the soffritto, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the carrot and celery. Cook for 2 minutes or until the onion has softened.
Tip: A heavy stock pot allows for even heat distribution. The large 30cm pot allows me to make two meals for a family of four in one – just what our busy family needs! Alternatively, use a smaller pot and portions if preparing one meal only.
Add the bay leaves and all the pre-cut vegetables (except for the silver beet leaves) to the soffritto. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Note: We recommend cutting the potato into larger cubes (1.5cm instead of less than 1cm) as they cook quicker and would be mush if cut the same size. Alternatively if you prefer, cut the potatoes the same small size, and simply add the potatoes 15 minutes later than the other vegetables. Feel free to also substitute with seasonal vegetables and greens you have on hand.
Add the tomato paste which adds richness to the Minestrone. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes which allows the tomato paste to caramelise and full flavour to develop.
Note: As an alternative, you could add canned, chopped tomatoes which will create a more rustic flavoured Minestrone.
Pour the cold water over the vegetables, then add the chopped parsley and silver beet leaves.
Cook for 45 minutes, occasionally stirring the Minestrone soup and noting that once the soup has come to the boil, you will need to reduce the heat to low for the remining cooking time.
After the 45 minutes cooking time, season the Minestrone by adding salt, a little at a time and taste until just right. Add the Ditali or pasta of your choosing, referring to the cooking time specified in pasta packet instructions.
Discard the whole bay leaves. Ladle hot Healthy Minestrone soup among serving bowls. Top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano Reggiano – buon appetito!