Good food IS good health, and minestrone is about as wholesome as it damn well gets.
The thing is, when winter hits, it brings with it some things that are traditionally framed as "a shit time".
A chill in the air, lots of rain, cloudy skies, and wind are all part and parcel for a few months while going out and socialising over a few tins becomes a little bit less appealing.
So we like to focus on the good stuff that winter brings too. Epic waves, big knitwear, fleece-lined track pants and hot chocolate spiked with a peaty single malt all come to mind.
And so does a delicious minestrone soup.
"Minestrone" is an Italian word which literally translates to English as: "Just chuck it all in mate, seriously, you could not fuck this up if you tried."
And as such, it does what it says on the label (what we're trying to say is that you should treat this recipe more as a guideline).
Got some lentils? Fang 'em in there. Carrot ratios a bit off? Just put more carrot in, nobody will care. Got loads of tinned borlotti beans? Fantastic—use them.
Don't like pearl barley? Use pasta instead.
This soup is about clearing out your veggie drawer while scoring a seriously yummy treat that will feed you for days (we always make too much as a house policy).
This particular recipe comes from talented Aussie chef Joel Bennetts (Pier, Three Blue Ducks, Peppes Bondi); we teamed up with Joel earlier this month to start bringing more delicious recipes that are easy, affordable, and will impress even the most discerning culinary cognoscenti.
First thing's first: get 200 grams of pearl barley cooking in water while you make the soup. Cook until it's nice & soft, then strain and set aside.
Then, heat ~ 100mL of good EVOO in a stock pot, then add:
- Two brown onions (diced),
- Eight cloves of garlic (diced),
- One tbsp chilli flakes (more if you're into that sort of thing),
- Two bay leaves and 1/2 bunch of thyme (chopped, with stalks).
The you're gonna wanna cook the lot for 15 minutes on a low to medium heat, seasoning very well with salt & pepper.
After that chop and add:
- Two carrots,
- Two large potatoes,
- Half a leek,
- One zucchini.
Cook for another 10-15 minutes, add two litres of water, diced tomatoes (four big fresh ones or two cans of the tinned stuff), about 100mL of passata (or failing that an extra tin, nobody will judge you), and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes.
By now, everything should be nice and soft.
Check the seasoning is to taste and serve with some of the pearl barley, some chopped parsley and a splash of your finest EVOO. Bonus points if you're one of those savages who flaunts the rules by putting parmesan on soup: go off king.
Oh, and don’t forget to chuck some yummy crusty bread on the side for good measure.