This is probably one of my all time favourite Saturday afternoon comfort meals (yes, comfort meals are not just for lazy Sundays!). Minestrone is great because you can throw in any vegetables you have lying around and you’re guaranteed a tasty outcome, and even though gnocchetti sardi isn’t typically used in minestrone, for me it’s first choice.
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 pepper either red, yellow or orange, sliced
- 100g lentils, soaked for 30 minutes
- 100g tinned fagioli (beans) such as cannellini or butter beans
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 1 ½ pints vegetable stock
- 1 ½ cups gnocchetti sardi pasta, or any other small soup pasta
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Dried oregano
In a large saucepan heat the oil, adding the onion, garlic and chilli. Sauté for a few minutes until soft then add the celery and carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the pepper, season to taste and mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock, followed by the lentils and fagioli and bring to the boil. Throw in a couple of teaspoons of oregano then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes – or until all vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile prepare the gnocchetti. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil adding plenty of salt. Cook the gnocchetti for around 9 minutes or until al dente. Drain and toss in a little olive oil, then leave to one side.
Add the pasta to the soup when ready to serve rather than adding it all at once. This will ensure that the pasta doesn’t soak up too much of the liquid and the soup stays soupy!
Serve and eat, then proceed to have seconds.