As this article is substantially a recipe on how to make Minestrone soup if you only wish to view the recipe please skip over the next few paragraphs and go straight to the list of ingredients and instructions at the foot of this page. If not please read on.
Late summer is great time to make Minestrone soup. You might have access to fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and a whole range of veggies like potatoes, carrots, green beans and more that can all easily go into a good Minestrone. It’s such a versatile recipe that it can take many ingredients including beans of various kinds from the humble kidney bean soaked and washed of course, to the tasty berlotti bean.
With Brexit looming our thoughts turn to food security and the prospects of not getting our hands on cooking ingredients we have come to take for granted. What would we do without our trip to the supermarket for those ingredients like pancetta used as an optional extra in this recipe.Or something as basic as olive oil. While we could see enterprising farmers producing something like pancetta I don’t think we will have enough olive groves ready on time to produce our own extra virgin varieties.
Parmigiano-reggiano cheese would be another potential missed ingredient from the shelves in a post Brexit supermarket bereft of EU goods.That is of course if there is much in the shops at all. As someone who loves to cook fresh food the potential food security issues are quite chilling to consider. Do I have enough space to store food if there are shortages? What kind of foods should I store and how long will they last?
It certainly does seem like common sense, without spreading panic, to have a well stocked larder as you never know when something will run out in the shops. Most UK supermarkets run a ‘Just in time’ inventory system, meaning one break in the chain of supply can caused disruption to production of basic foods and consequences to deliveries to the customer.
The disadvantages of just-in-time inventories involve disruptions in the supply chain. If a supplier of raw materials has a breakdown and cannot deliver the goods on time, one supplier can shut down the entire production process. A sudden order for goods that surpasses expectations may delay delivery of finished products to clients.
This summers earlier shortage in CO2 or carbon dioxide had major consequences for massive sections of the food processing industry and farming. It even puts the ‘bubbles’ into your shop bought crumpets. More detail on that CO2 crisis here.
To avoid dreadful scenes of fighting in the aisles over the last tin of tomatoes ( also good with Sunday breakfasts) I will not be panicking.I will and already have started making space in my kitchen for some ‘plan b’ supplies. First on the list was couple of jars of delicious roasted red peppers. Good for a couple of years and great as a luxurious extra in, you guessed it Minestrone soup! Even if as it seems none of the politicians in charge of Brexit have any ‘plan’ at all it seems best to be prepared or miss those tasty Italian and other EU treats.
One German supermarket recently made a point about food diversity by removing all non-German products from its shelves.Its clearly not just about food its about the diversity of the people who grow and produce it and how we share it across different cultures.
Minestrone Soup- late summer variety
Ingredients (source EU or home grown)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2-3 cans or cartons of diced tomatoes
4 cups water or vegetable or chicken stock
1-2 bay leaves
A good pinch of dried oregano
2/3 cup pasta any shape. You can break spaghetti into short pieces
Any vegetables you have available such as listed below
2 courgettes, diced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 Small Potatoes
2 Savoy Cabbage leaves
A few pea pods
Packet of Cubed pancetta smoked or un-smoked
A couple of Roasted Red peppers
1 cup cooked and drained chickpeas
Finely grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for serving
1 large handful of basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Put the olive oil into a good-sized (5.7Litre) soup pot.
Add the pancetta if you are using it and fry gently
Add the chopped onion and continue frying
Add all the vegetables and garlic you are using (chopped of course)
Keep back the cabbage ( or Chard leaves) to add later
Coat the vegetables and cook with the olive oil till they begin to soften
You can also add in any beans you are using
Add in the stock I used chicken stock cubes and water but go easy on the water if you want a thick ‘stand your spoon up’ soup
Two tins or cartons of tomatoes check the taste and add tomato puree to desired taste
Add the bay leaves and oregano
Add whatever pasta you are using, macaroni or small pasta shells are good
Cabbage leaves can be added at this stage
Simmer until all the vegetables and the pasta are soft
Add seasoning to taste
Serve with grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese , some torn up basil leaves and crusty bread