Minestrone soup

  • 2Tbs oil
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 x 425gm(A5) tin crushed or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 200gm(7oz) tin red kidney beans
  • 300gm(110z) diced chuck steak
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼tsp thyme leaves
  • ½cup spaghetti (broken into 2cm/1in lengths)
  • salt/ ground black pepper
  • Note: You can add any other type of hard vegetables if you like. For example: turnip, swede, potato, sweet potato or yams, fennel and leek.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil on high heat until it just starts to smoke. Add the meat and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown. Add the onion, carrot and celery (and other hard vegetables if you are using them) and continue cooking until they start to colour. Stir in the crushed garlic and then the tomatoes and about 1liter/1.5 pints of water, add the bay leaf, thyme, 1tsp salt and some pepper. Bring the soup to the boil, turn down to a simmer and stir occasionally. Continue cooking for about 1 hr or until the meat starts to become tender. Add the pasta at this point, stir in and cook for a further 20mins, stirring occasionally. Check to see if the soup has enough seasoning. Serve topped with gated Parmesan cheese and some crusty Italian bread. You could also add a spoonful of pesto if you desire.

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