“No recipe” vegetable and bean soup with pasta
Once you understand how to construct a soup you hardly need a recipe. This is especially so in a simple and hearty soup such as this one, full of vegetables, beans and pasta and believe me, nothing could be simpler.
I start with a heavy soup pot, my favourite is an enamelled cast iron pot such as Le Creuset, put in a little olive oil, heat it up and then begin adding the ingredients I have on hand. I start with the aromatics: onion, garlic, then add the base vegetables such as carrots and celery, then perhaps other vegetables like shredded cabbage and red pepper. Once the vegetables have been cooked in the oil for a few minutes I add tomatoes, fresh or canned, the cooked beans (fresh or canned) and stock or water and bring to a boil. When the soup is boiling I lower the heat and let it simmer quietly for 30 minutes. Vegetable soups do not benefit from long simmer like soups that have meat in them.
For flavouring I add salt and pepper and a small handful of herbs from the garden, fresh or dried.
When the soup is cooked through I add a handful of pasta, turn off the heat and cover. I let the pasta cook in the hot liquid.
I keep this soup in glass mason jars in the fridge and if needed, add water or stock when I reheat it later.
For serving I often have a pistou or parsley pesto of one kind or another in the fridge so I spoon it over and stir it into the soup in the bowl.
Here is an approximate recipe, but the idea is to use what you have in your fridge.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
About 4 cups of vegetables. Choose from: Onion, garlic, carrots, celery, pepper, green cabbage, fennel, zucchini etc.
2 cups beans, freshly cooked or canned. Try a mixture of beans if you have them.
1 small can tomatoes, chopped
8 cups vegetable or other stock
A generous handful of herbs, fresh or dried (thyme, oregano, basil etc.)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup pasta small shells or another pasta shape
Heat up the oil an a soup pot.
Add onion and cook until translucent but not browned.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add remaining vegetables and cook until softened.
Add the beans, tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the pasta, cover and turn off the heat.
The soup is ready when the pasta is cooked, about 5-190 minutes.
Serve with parsley pesto.