Another day, another attempt to eat what I have in the house as opposed to going out and buying more. As I try “Eating from the Pantry” on days when the budget and food available doesn’t stretch, I look to cultures and cuisines that are particularly skilled at this.
The Italians are pretty good at coming up with adaptable recipes that use up leftovers. They’re resourceful like that! Pizza is usually a weekly meal in our house, partly because it’s delicious, partly because it’s cheap, and partly because it’s a great way to use up some leftover meat, vegetables, cheese, or other toppings. Similarly, pasta is a wonderful staple that sits in everyone’s pantry and can be cooked in a variety of ways with many opportunities for using leftovers, from tomato sauce and cream to vegetables and meats.
But for a slightly lighter, more ‘springtime’ dinner, there is something wonderful about minestrone soup. Most soups are easily adaptable and a good way to use up leftovers, and when I raided my fridge and freezer and came across vegetables, beans, Parmesan and fresh basil that needed using up, this was the perfect recipe.
I can hardly call it a recipe, in fact, as it is so incredibly simple! But here are the basic ingredients and instructions:
“Leftover” Minestrone Soup
A combination of leftover vegetables (cooked or raw, fresh or frozen), chopped into bitesize pieces – I used borlotti beans, carrots, celery, onion and peas.
Handful pasta (optional)
Stock (or boiling water if you are out of homemade stock/stock cubes)
Herbs of choice (fresh or dry) – I used fresh basil from the plant on our windowsill, and it was perfect
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of oil and some grated parmesan
2. Bring to the boil, then simmer as long as you need for vegetables to cook (if using potatoes or pasta, for example, simmer for at least 10 mins).
3. Season to taste, then drizzle with oil and parmesan.