Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Winter, brrr…. It’s still only early February, so we have some way to go before milder, sunnier days of spring, here in Britain. In this freezing cold weather, nothing beats a bowl of hot and tasty soup for lunch or supper. Can I get a thumbs-up to that? A good soup is so filling, comforting and warming, that it is the ideal winter dish with some bread or crackers. It's healthy as well when it is as full of vegetables as this one is. (You can often have soup as a meal in itself, owing to the volume of hot liquid in it, which fills the stomach for a long time). This traditional Italian recipe is a simple but hearty and filling soup, ideal for lunch on a winter day or as a light supper. It is very nutritious and satisfying, owing to a number of vegetables in it, and it is definitely full of both flavor and texture. It is best served with a large hunk of whole wheat, stone ground bread, or any kind of rustic, crusty loaf. This recipe gives the quantity for a large group of people, e.g. a family, but you can just halve or quarter the amounts in the recipe if you don’t want to make so much in one go.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
5 cups/1.2 liters of vegetable stock/broth
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, diced
2 courgettes/zucchini, diced
2 cups/150 g chopped mushrooms
3 cups/700 g passata (Italian sieved tomatoes)
1 14-oz/410g can of cannellini beans, drained and mashed (any white beans would work here)
1¼ cups/150g shredded green cabbage
3 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Wholewheat/stoneground bread, to serve
1) Place around 4 tablespoons of the stock/broth in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole dish and set to cook over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, put the lid back on, and cook for around 5 minutes, until softened.
2) Add the mushrooms, carrots, and courgettes (zucchini) and stir. Season and cook for around 2 minutes. Stir in the passata and the remaining stock, bring it up to a simmer, and then cover and continue cooking for around 10 minutes.
3) After simmering for 10 minutes, add the cabbage and beans, cover the pan again and carry on cooking on a low heat for around another 10 minutes.
4) Finally, stir in the basil and adjust the seasoning, depending on taste. Ladle into warmed serving bowls and serve with hearty hunks of bread to dunk in. A very satisfying soup, you should find ( and I always think the ideal drink to accompany this is a glass of nice red wine).
Instead of beans, you can also use the same amount of canned chickpeas in this recipe. They are a good substitute for white beans.
Picture courtesy of www.trucchis.com