Winter is a prime season to indulge in a good bowl of hot soup. The mellow flavour of minestrone soup, one of Italy's best-known dishes, makes a wonderful addition to any menu. The greatest thing about this recipe is it tastes even better reheated the following day. This soup will keep for up to a week when stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 fresh bird's eye chili pepper, seeds and pith removed*
- 1 fresh pork sausage, casing removed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb kale, stems trimmed and leaves coarsely chopped*
- 1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
- 1-19 fl oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs* 2
- 1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley
- Salt and pepper
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, chili pepper, sausage meat and garlic. Sauté until the onion is translucent (about 10 minutes). Add kale and potato, sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sprigs of thyme. Simmer until the kale is wilted and the tomatoes break down (about 10 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, blend ¾ cup of beans with ¼ cup of broth in a food processor until almost smooth. Add the puréed bean mixture and remaining broth to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick (about 2 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Discard the thyme sprig (the leaves will have fallen off the stem).
3. Ladle soup into warmed bowls. Garnish with more fresh parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.
4. Serve and enjoy.
*Note: spicy sausage could be used instead of fresh chili peppers; swiss chard could be substituted for kale; and rosemary could be used instead of thyme.