Ok so I've been watching the first season of Jersey Shore lately (don't judge! It is outrageous, incomprehensible, and at times, completely hilarious...) and have had a good old-fashioned hankerin' for some authentic Italian food.
So in my completely non-Italian way, I made minestrone. I don't know whether it would pass muster with a proper Italian mama, but I sure like it. And I like the teensy star-shaped soup pasta I get to use even more. Topped with a big dollop of pesto and freshly grated parmesan, it's a darn good soup. And since I don't do chicken noodle, this is my go-to remedy for any illness. It'll cure what ails ya!
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
700g tomato passata
1 litre stock
1/2 teaspoon of basil, oregano and thyme (or the equivalent in mixed herbs)
2 bay leaves
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthways and sliced
handful of green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup peas
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup soup pasta
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1. In a large stock pot, saute the onion, celery and carrot over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and saute another minute.
2. Add the passata, stock, herbs, bay leaf, vinegar, brown sugar and pasta. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer at least 20 minutes.
3. Five to 10 minutes before serving, throw in the zucchini, beans, peas and chickpeas.
4. Serve topped with plenty of freshly grated parmesan, torn fresh basil, pesto and a grinding of black pepper.