Monday, 10 November 2014

Simply Wonderful Soup!

Minestra Veloce & Semplice di Pasta Integrale & Verdure
Quick & Easy Vegetable Soup with Whole Wheat Noodles


On a cold Autumn or Winter evening, when you get home cold, tired and hungry... nothing is better than opening a can of soup, warming it up quickly and relaxing right?


You deserve better than that- and you can DO better than that! With just the simplest handful of ingredients and in just 30 minutes or so, you can make a bowl of all-natural, delicious soup which is so much better for you than those store-bought, artificially flavored concoctions!


There are certain "convenience" products that I have no problems with- pastries for example, or canned beans... but soups or sauces? No way! There's just no need for it... plus- you will never get a store-bought version that tastes anywhere near as good as home-made!


With just 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1 shallot, 2 handfuls of whole wheat pasta and 2 handfuls of these tiny cherry tomatoes i was lucky enough to buy... I managed to make 2 yummy bowls of sensible, simple, home-made soup! A little basil, parsley and a bay leaf added depth and richness to the broth and a good olive oil made for a lovely Mediterranean touch... and made a soup you will enjoy again and again! No doubt about it!

Sure it's simple, but it is satisfying and healthy- and of course you can add other vegetables to it, or even a little bacon or chicken if you so wish... but the basic method I used is what makes it quick, easy and fun! Pull up a chair and let me show you...


Start off by chopping the celery stalk and the carrot into a relatively fine dice... make the shallot a little finer if you can... and as for those parsley stalks- you know me! Don't be throwing them out! Cut them up nice and fine too! The tomatoes need to be cut, so that they will cook more quickly- mine were small, so I simply halved them, but if yours are larger, you may want to cut them into quarters.

Start off by frying the shallot, carrot, celery and parsley stems in a little olive oil until they are almost halfway cooked and are just beginning to stick a little to the base of the saucepan... that is all great flavor that we will make use of in the next step!


Add just enough water to cover the vegetables, the bay leaf, salt and pepper and let them boil away... basically until the water has boiled away! You just want to get the vegetables cooked quickly and keep all of the flavor right there and getting more concentrated as you go.


Next, add the noodles, the tomatoes and a good handful of shredded basil leaves, cover with plenty of boiling water and allow everything to cook together at a gentle simmer for the next 10-15 minutes. Add a little more salt and pepper according to the amount of water you have just added.


Let the noodles cook through thoroughly... this is a soup after all and the last thing you need is for them to be "al dente"! By the time they are done, they will have doubled in size, soaked up plenty of that broth and thickened it too with the starch they give off- which is excellent!


Add the finely chopped leaves of the parsley, plenty of pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil and serve piping hot!


It's the simple things that are often the best- and this kind of old-fashioned soup is one of them! I don't know about you... but to me- this is all I need to be happy on a cold evening! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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