I guess if you have been following my blog you would know by now that soups are not exactly my favourite food. In fact, I have only one soup recipe on my blog till date! My husband and daughter, on the other hand, enjoy their soup. But Akshaya always tells me that I am not very good at making soup and I have to agree with her. Maybe it has something to do with my indifferent attitude towards soup in general.
Some time back, I decided to work on improving my soup making skills. On one hand, soup is a great thing when you want a light but filling dinner. On the other hand if you are careful about what you eat or garnish your soup with, it is an excellent meal which is low in calories. One does have to worry about these things as one gets older (and heavier)!
Minestrone is an Italian soup which takes its name from “minestra” which refers to a hearty or chunky soup. There are probably as many different recipes for minestrone as there are people who cook it and every region of Italy has its traditional minestrone soup that it is famous for. However, all minestrone soups usually feature a tomato based broth (this could be thin or thick) with onion, celery, beans, seasonal vegetables and sometimes pasta or rice. Some versions also include a bit of meat.
So minestrone is a soup that very easily adapts itself to what is available in one’s kitchen. And given the ingredients it accommodates, it makes for a nutritious and filling one-dish meal.
I have adapted this recipe from Tarla Dalal‘s The Complete Italian Cookbook. She says that this particular minestrone with pesto is from Milan. The pesto lends the minestrone a nutty flavour and can be made ahead, but add it just before you finish making the minestrone. This minestrone is best served as soon as it is made.