Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50-60 minutes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sticks of celery, sliced into small even pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
300g pumpkin or butternut squash, deseeded, peeled and diced into small cubes
100g button mushrooms, diced
300g zucchini squash, diced
2 tbsp oregano, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1.2 litres of boiling chicken or vegetable stock
400g can of diced plum tomatoes
400g can cannellini bean
150g cavolo nero or kale, finely shredded and diced
150g very small pasta eg. gnocchetti
2 tbsp pesto sauce
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
maldon (sea) salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g pesto sauce
100g freshly grated parmesan
Minestrone: Place the olive oil in a very large saucepan or casserole container over a moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic and celery to the pan and cook them gently for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and transparent. Stir in the potato, pumpkin, mushrooms, zucchini, bay leaf and oregano and gently cook them for a couple of minutes, stirring them regularly with a wooden spoon.
Pour the boiling stock into the pan and stir in the plum tomatoes. Bring the mixture to the boil then reduce it to a slow simmer and leave it to cook gently for 30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
Stir in the cannellini beans and the cavolo nero or kale. Continue to cook the minestrone for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are hot and tender.
Bring some water to boil in a separate saucepan and add the pasta to it. Cook the pasta until tender then strain it and set it aside.
Add the cooked pasta to the soup and stir in the pesto and parmesan, stir the soup so that all the ingredients are well combined.
To Serve: Season the soup to taste and serve the soup drizzled with a little olive oil. Place extra pesto and parmesan on the table for diners to add to their taste.
See below for conversion tool: http://education.yahoo.com/reference/weights_and_measures/index?p=weight_and_mass