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1) Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the red onions and cook gently for 5 minutes.
2) Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, courgettes and yellow pepper, beans, and garlic.
3) Mix well and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir from time to time so that the vegetables do not stick to the saucepan.
4) Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked. (Over-cooked courgettes loose their colour and texture).
5) Add the cooked pasta and stir. Check the seasoning.
To serve the stylish way: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil and half of the cheese. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with the remaining cheese.
In Italy, minestrone usually means a vegetable soup, although it might contain chicken or meat broths so always check this! Vegetables vary from recipe to recipe and region to region. Often pasta, beans and rice are added as well. Minestrone is sometimes served with pesto stirred in or with Parmesan grated on top like this one.
I have chosen vegetables that are green, red and white giving a bright coloured appearance and texture that make the most of the freshness from the summer vegetables.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions – finely chopped
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
450g (1 lb) Plum tomatoes – cut into small pieces
2 green courgettes – trimmed and roughly chopped
1 yellow courgettes or use a yellow pepper if unavailable – trimmed and roughly chopped
100g (4oz) small pasta eg. Faralline (small bows) or macaroni - cooked
400g (14 oz) cannellini beans – rinsed and drained
3 cloves of garlic – peeled and sliced
1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
6 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
75g (3 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper