Winters are for curling up with a good book or movie and hot, comforting food. The days that seem so much shorter bring on a wave of inertia and we barely make it to the coffee pot without grumbling. Gone are the times when cooking was an elaborate ritual, involving standing for long hours in front of the stove, stirring and whisking things until they came up to an aromatic and bubbly simmer, tasting a small spoonful from time to time, then sprinkling a little bit of this or that, until the alchemy of it was near-perfect.
In this age of that familiar fastness about everything, we like to take things a little easy, and all the more better if it can be accomplished with little foot or hand work. A one-pot-meal has been an eternal favourite, no doubt, but a one-click one, even more so. This Minestrone has all the magic of a slow cooked soup, except, it’s made in a short time, by throwing a bunch of nutritious elements into the pressure cooker and allowing it to do its thing. A great way to beat the winter blues, when the bones are cold and tired and the spirits need uplifting.
Go on, reach for that book you’ve been wanting to read, or turn the TV on and tune into that fun movie. Supper will almost make itself ready!
Pressure Cooker Minestrone Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons mixed Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 4 large tomatoes, blanched, skinned and roughly pureed
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of turmeric
- Parmesan cheese to top while serving
- Warm the olive oil on low heat in a medium sized pressure cooker. Season with the dried herbs and chilli flakes.
- Tip in the onions and garlic, cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the celery, leeks and carrot, continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the zucchini to the cooker and toss well.
- Now add the chickpeas and tomato puree to the cooker.
- Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric.
- Now close and bring the cooker up to full pressure. Switch off the heat and allow the pressure to release on its own.
- Serve the soup topped with some grated Parmesan, pesto and any fresh herbs you have on hand.
You could add some shortcut pasta to the soup if you like. Add half cup uncooked pasta when you pour in the tomato puree. Do remember to stir in about a cup of extra water for the pasta to cook in.