I may have mentioned before that I don’t have television. This is because I tend to watch TV compulsively, I am the sort of person who would stay up all night watching reruns of any incarnation of the Law and Order franchise thrown my way. This was bad enough when there were only four or five channels, now that there are hundreds … well let’s just say I wouldn’t get a lot of sleep.
However I do miss cooking shows, in particular I miss finding out about new chefs and bakers whose books I might like and as so many cook books are now tied in with TV shows I sometimes feel behind the curve on what is out there.
Tyler Florence is one of the chefs I might have missed out on if my sister Deb hadn’t had a pot of this soup on the stove one weekend while I was in Cork.
Easily adaptable for gluten free, just use GF pasta and stock, this soup is amazingly flavoursome and the perfect kind of food for this kind of mixed up rainy Spring weather. Snuggle up with a bowl of this, a good shaving of parmesan cheese, a glass of red wine and a book and you will be happy.
Tyler Florence: Hunters Minestrone adapted for GF
This makes six servings and reheats well the next day but will be more of a stew than a soup as the pasta will absorb the stock over night.
2 1/2 pints of gluten free chicken stock
1 whole head of garlic cut in half
1/2 pound of GF rigatoni (or other small pasta), use regular rigatoni if you don’t need
this to be GF.
1/4 cup of olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves, I know these can be hard to get but they do make the difference. I have once or twice substituted and teaspoon of dried Sage and the world did not end.
I sprig of fresh rosemary
I sprig of fresh thyme
450 grams of pork mince
2 medium carrots finely chopped
2 celery ribs finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
I bay leaf
2 tins of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 good handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
Parmesan cheese and a grater
1. Put the GF chicken stock and the halved head of garlic in a pot and simmer for about 15 mins, remove the garlic with a straining spoon and keep the stock warm.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta.
3. Pour the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a soup pot or big saucepan. Add the sage, rosemary and thyme and warm in the oil over a medium heat for three to four minutes. This will infuse the oil with the flavour of the herbs and is what makes this soup a bit special.
4. Add the minced pork to the pot with the herbs and break it up with a wooden spoon, mixing until the pork is browned.
5. Add the chopped vegetables and cook for three to four minutes until they are softened but not browned.
6. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, the cannelloni beans and the stock and add the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and leave to simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring every now and then.
7. While the soup is cooking add the pasta to the pot of water you have boiling. Cook the pasta for about six or seven minutes, until it is just slightly under done. Drain the pasta.
8. Before adding the pasta to the soup fish out the thyme and rosemary stalks and the bay leaf.
9. Add the pasta to the soup along with the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Mr Florence serves his soup with slices of parmesan coated toasted baguette but I find that this soup with the beans and pasta is filling enough and all it really needs is a good sprinkling of parmesan cheese.