This delicious soup is served with thick slices of crusty bread and comes in winter and summer versions. You can add to the basic recipes whatever vegetables you have in your garden.
Serves 6 children
YOU WILL NEED: • large saucepan or cooking pot • wooden spoon • can opener • strainer • grater • ladle
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion or leek, chopped
3 sticks celery, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups chicken stock or water
Parmesan cheese to serve
200 grams of mixed winter vegetables (English spinach, cabbage, shelled peas)
1 tin cannellini or borlotti beans
Salt and pepper to taste
50 grams short pasta or rice
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Place a large cooking pot over medium-low heat; add olive oil, onion or leek, carrot and celery to the pot. Stir vegetables while cooking until they are just tender (about 5 minutes).
Add tomatoes, garlic and stock or water to the pot. Add other roughly chopped vegetables - use what ever mix of vegetable you have in your garden. Cook gently for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Drain beans and rinse under water in a sieve, then add beans to soup. Cool a spoonful of the soup and taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Increase heat to bring soup to the boil. Add pasta or rice. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook gently for 15 minutes until pasta or rice is tender. Add chopped parsley to the soup and cook for another 5 minutes. (Add another cup of water if soup is too thick.) Remove soup from heat and ladle soup into bowls or mugs. Grate some Parmesan cheese on top, and serve.
Leave out pasta or rice, tinned tomatoes and beans, and winter vegetables. Instead, use 800 grams of very ripe tomatoes that have had seeds removed and have been cut into chunks, and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
Add 3 new potatoes and 450 grams of mixed summer vegetables that have been roughly chopped – zucchini, summer squash, green beans, baby silver beet leaves. Sprinkle with chopped basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese before serving.