Minestrone made with punchy tomato and anchovy paste

Minestrone

I have always loved pasta in all of its forms and I think that putting little bits of it in a vegetable soup is a brilliant idea. A glance at Elizabeth David‘s Italian Food reveals the importance of fresh parsley and green vegetables in minestrone; spinach and beans work well, alongside whatever other vegetables are in season. Regional variations of this classic dish might include salted pork rind, ham or bacon and the Genovese add pesto. A handful of freshly grated parmesan, sprinkled on top to serve is also widely recommended.

I made this soup on the cheap and therefore left out the pig, parmesan and parsley. The following made enough for two portions;

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small parsnip
  • 3 cauliflower florets
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs tomato and anchovy paste* / regular tomato paste
  • 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 500mls Marigold Boullion
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 handful of minestrone pasta
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

*We made pizzas on the weekend and I cooked onion, garlic, mixed herbs and a tin of anchovies into passata to make the sauce. Reduced down, this makes the best tomato paste I have ever tasted!

Instructions

  1. Dice the first four ingredients into 7mm chunks and sweat them in a pan with the lid on. This should be on a medium heat with a good swig of olive oil
  2. Crush and add the garlic
  3. After a few minutes, add the paste and the herbs and stir in.
  4. Add the stock and paprika and bring to a simmer (not a rolling boil)
  5. Now stir in the pasta and cook for another three minutes. Test the pasta to know when the soup is done.

Those Italians really know how to make food that is both deeply satisfying and healthy. The pasta soaks up the wholesomeness of the vegetables and the salty flavour of the tomato and anchovy paste. Hot, savoury and filling, minestrone is one of my favourite comfort foods.

My recent experimentations with canning have revolutionised my cooking world. I wonder if it is possible to can a big batch of tomato and anchovy paste?

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