Minestrone with Barley, Olives, Beans, Sprouts & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
I bet most of you can't stand to hear the expression "cucina povera" anymore- especially when is is a pretentious fussy dish being served up for a proud price to wealthy people... which makes no sense at all. But this IS poor peoples cuisine... because it has been made by me! Haha! And you may not even believe how little it took to prepare this rather luscious-looking bowl of goodness- so prepare to be amazed!
What you are looking at here is basically just a half of a carrot, half a stick of celery, half an onion, 4-5 Brussels sprouts, a handful of green beans and 2 handfuls of barley. And a few olives. And a sun-dried tomato. Okay, okay! So there is a little garlic and a few herbs in there too... and some olive oil! But still! Not much at all when you consider that it turned into 2 bowls of soup!
I started off by finely dicing the carrot, celery and onion and sautéing them lightly, together with the barley and a little crushed garlic. I fried everything gently until the onion became transparent and then deglazed the pan with a little boiling water- so as to not interrupt the cooking process. I added just enough water to cover the barley and seasoned with salt and pepper. I let everything simmer away at a gentle heat for 10 minutes and finely sliced the Brussels sprouts in the meantime- as well as finely chopping the green beans. I added these next, along with a little rosemary and thyme and let it continue simmering for 10 minutes.
Last but not least, I added the finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes and 5-6 Kalamata olives, which I tore into pieces and scattered into the soup, a sprinkle of chili flakes and a drizzle of olive oil... and 5 minutes later, supper was served! Cheap, easy and delicious! But don't take my word for it- find out for yourselves!