Once you can make tomato sauce, you can make tomato soup â€“ just add stock to the sauce, and a swirl of cream for added awesomeness.
And from tomato soup itâ€™s a tiny step to minestrone, which is a much more heartening meal. Minestrone is basically a tomato broth with some kind of pulses or vegetables thrown in. Itâ€™s a great place to use up those slightly tired odd vegetable ends that you have in the fridge â€“ a bit of sliced cabbage or kale, a few green beans, a handful of peas â€“ though I have to admit, I like the plain red version, studded (going in a slightly Venetian direction here) with chick peas.
If you have any old parmesan cheese rinds, throw a couple into the soup while it simmers. (you can freeze parmesan cheese rinds for three months â€“ possibly longer, though I canâ€™t vouch for that because they’ve never hung around longer than that in my freezer)
Minestrone soup (serves 4)2 medium onions Â½ tbsp butter Â½ tsp â€“ 1 tsp sugar / tbsp of milk 1 fat clove of garlic (peeled) 1 large can or 2 normal sized cans of tomatoes Can of chick peas 4 handfuls of ditalini pasta (any tiny soup pasta will do, or broken up normal pasta â€“ adjust the cooking time accordingly) 2 cups of stock (I use chicken stock) Salt and pepper Olive oil
- Dice the onions and fry in the butter with a splash of olive oil to prevent the butter burning. Season well
- Once the onions are soft and sweet (about 5 mins) grate in the clove of garlic and turn in the heat Pour in the tomatoes and snip at them until they are well chopped
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer, then add the ditalini pasta and the chick peas (drained well but not rinsed)
- Taste the soup. If itâ€™s too sharp add some of the sugar. Taste again. If itâ€™s still too sharp, add the tbsp of milk (it helps to balance the acidity). If the soup feels too thick, add a splash of hot water or extra stock
- Let the soup simmer until the pasta is cooked (about 5 mins)
Serve with lots of parmesan grated on top, and some crusty bread for dunking.