Friday, 7 December 2012

What's for Zuppa?

Minestrone di Verdure e Gamberetti
Shrimp and Vegetable Soup

Walking home through a snow-blizzard this evening, all I could think about was getting home and getting warm... and the million and one things I day-dreamed about eating whilst I was on my way all had one thing in common... they were all soups!

I love soups- any time, any place, anyhow- even at the height of Summer! But especially in the dark, cold, Winter months, a soup is always the right thing to just make you feel warm and cosy and happy. So get your saucepans out, have your knives and your veggies at the ready... and I will tell you how I fixed this here beauty this evening!

This was an easy soup to make, with simple everyday ingredients. I started out with just a little handful of finely diced bacon, which I got hot and sizzling in my saucepan with no extra fat. I added diced carrot, fennel, celery and finely chopped parsley, along with a little crushed garlic and a slice or two of ginger. And one single small potato... which I will come back to later! I sautéed these together for 3-4 minutes and then added a heaped teaspoon of tomato paste, which I also fried together with the other ingredients for a couple of minutes. 

I then deglazed the saucepan with a splash of white wine, which I stirred in well and topped up the ingredients with boiling water, to keep the cooking process going. At this point I added some diced zucchini and let the soup simmer away for 10 minutes. 

Next I added the shrimp and cherry tomatoes, which I had cut into quarters... and this was now the time to fetch out that single potato! Yes, yes, of course I simply mashed it with a fork and added it back into the soup to thicken it... but it made all the difference! 

Once the soup was ready to serve, I added a little Tabasco, finely chopped basil, a little olive oil and a nice scattering of those lovely, fine fennel greens- yummy! And suddenly the snow and the cold seemed very far away... 

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