Feel Good Minestrone Soup

I don’t think you can beat a good bowl of soup especially when you are feeling a bit run down or it is cold, wet and windy outside. I seem to get soaked to the skin every time I take the dogs out at the moment. I come home caked in mud up to my knees, with 3 equally mucky whippets and looking like a drowned rat! So today I decided that I would cheer myself up and make a pan of my minestrone soup.

Now I am sure that the Italians out there will say that I haven’t made it right but it is MY minestrone and it is the way I like it. I have to say I haven’t had any complaints from anyone who has had it.

I have been making this soup for well over 20 years since it kept me feed when I was a student in Liverpool. I would make a pot of it up and it would last 3 of us for the best part of the week. It was relatively cheap, packed full of healthy vegetables and more importantly soaked up the booze before a night out!

You can, of course, make this completely vegetarian but simply omitting the bacon and that is how I used to make it but I think the bacon just adds and extra depth of flavour. Leaving the soup overnight helps the flavour to develop, that’s if you can resist it, and it freezes really well too.

I love this soup and hope you will too!


  • 500g chopped bacon, pancetta or lardons
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 2 courgettes, julienne
  • 4 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 0.5 a small white cabbage, shredded
  • 500g green beans, topped and tailed, cut into small pieces
  • 2-3 handfuls conghigliette pasta or any other small pasta
  • 2 tbs pesto
  • 1 ltr passata
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5-2 pints stock.
  • 1tbs brown sugar
  • salt & black pepper to taste


  1. put a splash of oil into a very large pan or stock pot and heat gently
  2. Add the bacon and fry until golden brown and crispy
  3. Add all the vegetables and stir to combine for a few minutes.
  4. Add the passata, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil.
  5. Simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 30-40 minutes.
  6.  Add the sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes then test for seasoning 
  7. Throw in the pasta and cook for a further 10-15 minutes (depending upon pasta used)
  8. Stir in 2 tbs pesto.
  9. Serve with a dusting of parmesan and plenty of crusty bread.


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