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The best thing about minestrone is that you can whip it up with things you most likely have at home already. Some kind of pasta, some kind of lentil or bean, random vegetables and a few tetras or cans of crushed tomatoes – that’s it. The heartiness of minestrone makes it one of our cold season favorites. We tend to make it more stew-like than soup-like, and filling enough to not need bread on the side (even though bread is always a good idea). Using both green lentils and cannellini beans ups the protein content nicely, so even hungry athletes can trust this meal to do the trick. All in all, it’s a winner any day of the week.
For those of you who follow us on Instagram, you might have picked up on the fact that we lost power last week, due to a storm that (violently) passed through our area. The outage ended up lasting for a good 6 days, and about halfway into it, we closed up the house and went into the city (that is, Stockholm) for a little bit of a respite from it all. You know, we were longing for a hot shower and needed to do a clothes wash badly. We had also gone food shopping the day before the storm hit, with the intention of creating tons of recipes the following days, and needed to get going on that. Boy, you should have seen the amount of stuff we schlepped with us. Mike’s photo equipment, bags and bags worth of food, dirty laundry, running gear… Our arms definitely grew an inch or so longer from carrying it all. The first thing that we made when we had finally settled in (we don’t have our own place in the city, but my stepdad has a ‘spare’ apartment that we got to borrow) was this minestrone. After days of crispbread, random leftovers and oatmeal cooked on a camping stove, we were immediately transported to food heaven. Warming, flavorful, nutritious… ah, it hit all the spots. Sitting there, safe and warm and with a lovely bowl of soup in front of us, I couldn’t help but to get absorbed by how privileged we are. We have so much to be grateful for ALL the time, here in the western world. It’s all too easily forgotten about by us though, and we fall into habits of complaining about things that don’t really matter at all, so… I think this power outage was good for us. I’m endlessly appreciative we have a flushing toilet again. A heat pump humming in the background. Lights to turn on, a working kitchen, a fridge and freezer to store our food in. I know this sense of gratitude will fade away, eventually. But for now, I’m happy it’s there and I really try my best to appreciate all the comforts I have around me.
So in the spirit of gratitude, here’s our favorite minestrone recipe – exactly the way we like it. Of course, feel free to substitute any kind of pasta you have on hand, and the same goes for the legumes (although make sure to adjust cooking time if you use red lentils, for examples, because those cook quicker than the green ones used here). As far as vegetables, look in your fridge to see what needs to be used up. Even the saddest looking carrot will burst back to life in a stew such as this one. Happy cooking!
150 g (1 medium) onion, chopped
400 g (half a large) rutabaga, chopped
300 g (3 medium) carrots, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
780 g crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
160 g (2 dl) green lentils, rinsed
1.5 liter water
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes
100 g green curly kale (leaves only, equals 150 g with stems), chopped
125 g fusilli pasta (4 dl)
580 g small white beans (4-5 dl), rinsed
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
- In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion, rutabaga and carrots in the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. After 10 minutes, stir in the garlic. Continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, green lentils, water, herbs and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pot and give it a stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- When the 20 minutes are up, mix in the pasta, kale and beans. Cook for another 15 minutes over low heat, covered, stirring every now and then. If it looks like a lot of water has evaporated, add up to an additional 1/2 liter of water to achieve the desired consistency.
- When the pasta is cooked through, stir in 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper, plus more red pepper flakes if desired. We like this one on the spicy side. Serve immediately.
150 g (1 st. medelstor) lök, hackad
400 g kålrot, hackad
300 g (3 st. medelstora) morötter, hackade
3 msk olivolja
3 st. vitlöksklyftor, finhackade
780 g (2 st. tetras) krossade tomater
160 g (2 dl) gröna linser, sköljda
1.5 liter vatten
1 tsk torkad rosmarin
1 tsk torkad timjan
1 tsk torkad oregano
En nypa chiliflakes
100 g grönkål (enbart bladen, motsvarar 150 inkl. stjälkar), grovhackad
125 g svensk fusilli (4 dl)
580 g små vita bönor, sköljda
1 tsk balsamvinäger
Salt och svartpeppar
- I en stor gryta eller kastrull, fräs lök, kålrot och morötter i olivoljan och 1/2 tsk salt. Efter ca 10 min, rör ner vitlöken. Fräs i ytterligare 2 min.
- Tillsätt krossade tomater, tomatpuré, gröna linser, vatten, örtkryddor och en nypa chiliflakes till grytan och rör om. Koka upp, och sänk sedan värmen. Sjud under lock i ca 20 min.
- Efter 20 min, rör ner pasta, grönkål och bönor. Sjud under lock i ytterligare 15 min, men rör om då och då. Om det verkar som att mycket vätska har avdunstat, tillsätt upp till 1/2 liter vatten för att få till önskad konsistens.
- När pastan är klar, tillsätt balsamvinäger. Smaka sedan av med salt och svartpeppar, samt mer chiliflakes om så önskas. Vi tycker att lite hetta passar bra här, men det är upp till var och en. Servera omedelbart.