Dora Macchitella’s incredible Minestrone

So, looking out the window, right now makes me want to pack a bag get on a plane and get as far away from this cold, wet, windy and damp Country as possible…….but that’s just a fleeting feeling, it soon melts into an appreciation for the fact that I’m inside with Louie our Spaniel/Lab mix, Tiglette the small, fluffy King of the Sofa and the prospect of spending time cooking food like Dora’s Minestrone here.

We had this for lunch on a day were the temperature hit 32degrees (in October!!), it’s a simple Italian classic that initially, to me seemed a little out of place….but… was exactly the right food at the right time cooked by a wizard. My wrongly preconceived assumption was that food like this can only really work when it’s cold and damp and wet and you need some concrete in your belly…..not strictly true! Dora’s Minestrone was light, airy and unbelievably tasty, it was perfectly balanced……hot hearty food… 32degree heat!!

I can never hope to replicate how Dora’s soup effected us that day simply because there we so many elements at play……the people I was with, the place I was in, the morning we had spent chasing fish on the reef… just can’t get that in Dublin on a wet Tuesday morning!! So this is my closest homage:

Minestrone – a big pot of :0)

2 Courgette, small dice
2 carrots. small dice
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 cloves garlic minced
Bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 cups pasta – in this case Tubetini
1/2 can drained Berloti beans
2 seeded and finely diced plum tomatoes
1 peeled and small diced potato
Good stock – lamb or chicken
Salt and Pepper
Really, really good olive oil

Kick this off as you would a simple soup, in a pot sweat down your carrots, courgette, onion and garlic in the olive oil. You really need to bring the veg down as far as you can to release the natural sugars, don’t be afraid to stew them. Next in with the potato, parsley, berloti beans and chopped tomatoes – quick spin around the pot with the initial veg then in with your stock and Tubetini. When the pasta is cooked then you’re ready to serve. The potato will have broken down which will give your Minestrone a good thick consistency (use the pic above as reference), finish off with a glugette of your good olive oil and more parsley.

To really, really give this Minestrone an opportunity to come into its own try and leave it sit for a day. It allows everything to melt together and mellows out the flavours. We don’t have 32 degree heat in this Country…ever…..but what we do have is cold, wind, rain and occassionally an arse rumbler of Thunder……Dora’s Minestrone is perfect for us pastey honkeys in Northern Europe!

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