Minestrone soup with pumpkin and mushrooms
This minestrone is a more wintery version of the popular soup with pumpkin and mushrooms However, I suspect minestrone soup can have as many variations as the combinations of vegetables and meats that can be found in a refrigerator. It’s a soup that reminds me of the “stone soup” fairy tale.
Remember the stranger who started boiling a stone in the village square saying it would be wonderful, if he just had some onion? And a villager brought him some onion from his house to make the soup really wonderful. Then the stranger said, “If only we had a little carrot to sweeten the magic soup.” And a housewife brought some carrots to complete the stone soup. So little by little, everyone brought a bit of something or other and filled the huge cauldron. It all became an amazing soup that they shared together and they lived happily ever well.
And so will we. Even better because we learned the secret of the recipe and we don’t even need the magic stone to make it. Just a few leftovers and a good broth for a base. The truth is you really need some kind of stock or broth to make it great. Even better if it’s homemade.
I learnt this combination from my friend Christina, who makes minestrone her minestrone with beef and mushrooms. You can add leftover meat, in this version, I’ve only used pancetta.
Warning: this recipe makes quite a large amount of soup, but I really can’t find a reason to make it smaller, since we will comfortably cover 2 meals or take it with us for lunch at work without getting bored. The proportions of ingredients are approximate. It’s worth making, even if you are missing the celeriac, for example. Also try adding some leafy greens, like some spinach or kale at the end.
Recipe for minnesota soup with pumpkin and mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices smoked pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cellery sticks, sliced
- 400 g pumpkin, roughly chopped
- 1 small celeriac, diced
- 400 g canelini beans, soaked and sprouted*
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 250 g brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1.5 litres homemade bone broth or vegetable broth
- 120 g small shped dry pasta, (gluten-free if preferred)
- 2 tablespoons red pepper pesto, optional
- Parmesan, grated or peeled (or 3 tbsp walnuts, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast and salt to taste, blitzed until resembling crumbs)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Gently sauté the smoked pancetta for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, onion, carrots, curry, pumpkin, leek, sage and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables soften, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomato paste and rub it in with the wooden spoon until incorporated. Then add the celeriac, beans, mushrooms and broth. Stir well, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through.
Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the instructions in the package to ensure the pasta is al dente.
Add salt and black pepper if necessary. Serve with parmesan and pepper pesto if desired.
* If you have not sprouted the beans, you should boil them for about 40′ before adding them to the soup.
Soaking and sprouting legumes saves cooking time, makes beans more digestible and their nutrients more readily available. See “How I always have nutritious legumes” here.For more information see here