Jan 23

Spelt Minestrone

It’s winter and cold, the weather calls for some comfort food and here it is, warm, comforting and healthy!

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Minestrone is a classic Italian soup and it’s a concept more than a real recipe: it really doesn’t matter what you put in it as long as you like it! The variations are many, this is my version.

I like my minestrone to be a bit on the thick side, but you can adjust it and add more water to make it more soupy if that’s what you like, feel free to add pasta (boil it first on its own otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn!), swap vegetables or add more, peas, spinach, chard will all work well.

The basis of this minestrone and indeed of a lot of Italian recipe is the soffritto, an equal mix of celery, onion and carrot which is the basis of the dish, so I would suggest you use those three and then vary the veg according to your taste.

Click on “more” to read the recipe.

soffritto

Ingredients for 3-4 people:

for the soffritto:

equal quantities of onion, celery and carrot, I used 1/2 an onion, 1 small carrot and 2 stalks of celery.

2 potatoes

1 small courgette

2 tablespoons of tomato concentrate

5-6 bay leaves

then you can add other vegetables (squash, peas, chard, kale, spinach all work nicely) and herbs.

3 tablespoons of spelt per person

extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

Put the kettle on and have some boiled water at the ready before you start heating up the oil.

Chop celery, onion and carrot quite small and have all your vegetables washed and cut up, I like to make them quite small because you will not blend the soup and I prefer it this way.

Check the spelt packet and if it’s an easy cook type (if it says it will cook in 10 minutes) leave it, if it need longer then boil it in hot water until very nearly ready, then drain and leave until needed.

In a large pot put some olive oil, heat up and add the ingredients for the soffritto (the celery-onion-carrot mix), stir and let it sweat until the onion goes translucent.

Add the rest of the vegetables and stir, let it cook for 5 minutes then add the spelt and hot water enough to cover everything, add the bay leaf and other herbs you like (I think the bay leaf is essential!).

Add the tomato concentrate* and stir.

Let the soup cook on a low heat partially covered, stirring occasionally and topping up with hot water if you think it’s too thick.

Cook until the spelt is well done (it will look split and soft), add some cooked small pasta if you wish at the last 5 minutes of cooking.

When ready, serve in bowls with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

Remember to fish out all the bay leaves before eating!

Buon appetito!

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* I use tomato concentrate instead of fresh or tinned tomatoes because it gives a lot of flavour without the lumpy texture which I think doesn’t go with the recipe

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