Minestrone with lentils
A wonderful filling soup, especially for winter
- olive oil
- two onions;
- one to half bulb of garlic (or to taste);
- one tin of tomatoes or four fresh, skins removed;
- at least two of the following items: One large carrot, two potatoes, equivalent quantity pumpkin, one stick celery, or basically any dense vegetable you have available;
- one tin lentils - drained or equivalent quantity dried (no need to soak), equivalent quantity split peas and chick peas;
- tomato paste 1tbsp;
- any old parmigiano rinds
- red wine;
- 1L vegetable stock or two stock cubes and equivalent boiled water;
- three bay leaves;
- one fresh sprig (or dried) rosemary;
- sage (chopped if fresh);
- salt and pepper to taste;
- grated parmigiano cheese and fresh bread to serve.
- Peel and chop the onions in a bowl of water, set aside.
- Peel and chop the garlic - the best way is to separate the cloves from the bulb then squash with the flat of your knife - the skin should come off easily.
- Heat a dessert spoon of olive oil in a large pot, drain the onions then fry them with the garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don't burn.
- When the onions and garlic are translucent, add the tomatoes.
- Add the vegetables, peeled and cut into chunks.
- Add the tomato paste and half the stock and a generous splash of red wine.
- Stir thoroughly then add the lentils etc., stir again.
- Add enough stock to cover, add the herbs, rinds, salt and pepper.
- Leave to cook on medium heat for at least two hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if the soup has thickened to a stew consistency.
- The soup is ready when the lentils and peas are soft, and the vegetables begin to disintegrate.
Remove the bay leaves and parmigiano rinds, ladle into bowls and serve with grated parmigiano cheese and fresh bread.
This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week, or about three months in the freezer.
To reheat, you may have to add water as it will have thickened considerably while cold, otherwise it may be eaten as a stew.