The air was autumnal, the sky was grey and we had just returned from a week of eating all sorts of goodness in the US (read: fried chicken, pizza, cheesesteaks), so there was only one thing for it– a bowl of healthy soup. Minestrone fit the bill perfectly.
Once again, Nigella did not disappoint. As with all vegetable-centric dishes, the prep– chopping, peeling and the like– is what takes up so much time. But Nigella soothingly tells us in the introduction that you can chop one set of vegetables, throw it in at a low heat, and then move on to prepare the next one. It makes sense.
She does note that the soup does turn out to be “an undeniable khaki,” and that’s true. See above. This is one recipe where it probably is a good thing that there’s no photos in this book.
The one thing that tripped me up was Nigella’s recommendation to use Ligurian olive oil. I spent a fair amount of time in my local Waitrose trying, and failing, to find Ligurian olive oil. I went for the Tuscan olive oil instead, reasoning that it was the next region over, so close enough (though she says the Tuscan stuff is more peppery). But funnily enough, that night we finally sat down to watch “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” on Netflix— a cookbook we reviewed earlier this year— and Samin Nosrat goes to Liguria to see them make olive oil. Coincidental or poetic? You decide.
We had loads of leftovers, but I’ve got to say that the soup is even better the next day. Once again, Nigella for the win.
Maureen: Another Meat Free Monday!
Andrew (14): What is this?
Maureen: I guarantee you’re going to like it. It’s minestrone, which is just the Italian way of saying vegetable and pasta soup.
Nicholas (10): It smells good.
Tim: I’ll bet it’s good for us too.
Maureen: It is. All good stuff. Vegetables, vegetable stock, more vegetables and pasta. Yum.
Andrew: I really like it.
Nicholas: So do I.
Tim: Me too.
Maureen: This is going to be delicious for my lunch tomorrow too.
Tim: Another Meat Free Monday success story then.
If you would like to make this yourself, either for Meat Free Monday, or any other day of the week, click through this sentence to see the recipe in Google Books.
Tim: I thought this was good. It could have had more flavour, but it was still good.
Maureen: Did you think it needed more herbs?
Tim: Maybe. It definitely needs more of something.
Maureen: I thought this was healthy and good with loads of vegetables. I feel more virtuous having eaten it.
Andrew (13): It smelled good. But it didn’t look very attractive and the taste wasn’t there. From my perspective, it looked like mush. I’m not being mean, but it just looked like mush.
Nicholas (9): I expected it to be a different colour and like miso soup, but when I tasted it, it just wasn’t that good.
Continue reading ““Tortelloni Minestrone” from “Nigellissima””
Peter: This reminds me of the soup your mother makes that you like, pasta and thingy.
Anna: Pasta e fagioli. It does have pasta in it. But that’s about where the similarities end. My mother makes a mean minestrone too, and I think this recipe could rival it.
Peter: It’s quite filling. You could eat it for dinner if you had a big enough bowlful.
Anna: High praise indeed! It certainly goes a long way. We’ll be having our third day’s lunch on it tomorrow. I added some of the yellow courgette we had left from France to it today. That’s what’s so nice about minestrone, you can just keep topping it up with whatever veg you’ve got kicking around.
Peter: Is it healthy? It seems to have a lot of greens in it.
Anna: Very. I used my mother’s secret ingredient though, adding a parmesan rind to the pot. It makes it a little less healthy but adds a yumminess that’s more than worth it!