Everything's in it Minestrone
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Everything's in it Minestrone

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Perfect on a cold winter’s night with warm crusty bread straight from the oven. We’ve made this dish from scratch but feel free to use leftover meatballs from a previous meal and add your favourite veggies. That’s what we mean when we say it has ‘everything in it’.
<b>Prep:</b>  15 Prep: 15
<b>Cook:</b> 1 hour  Cook: 1 hour
Serves 6-8 Serves 6-8
Good source of iron Good source of iron
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  • 200g Quality Mark beef mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 rashers bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 2 small courgettes, roughly chopped
  • ˝ cup green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 400g can cannellini beans, drained
  • 400g can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup dried pasta (spirals, macaroni, penne or spaghetti pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 big bunch spinach leaves
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves


In a large saucepan, gently fry onion and garlic over a low heat until transparent. Add bacon and fry until crisp. Throw in carrots, celery, courgettes, green beans and frankly any other veggies you have on hand. Make sure, however, that they are cut to the same size so that they cook evenly. If some vegetables are denser than others, dice them a little smaller. Cook vegetables over a medium heat until carrots start to soften and brown a little.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Add cannellinni beans, half the can of kidney beans and pasta and simmer gently for at least 20 minutes or until the pasta has softened.

While soup is simmering, make tiny meatballs. Mix beef mince with dried basil, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Form a meatball from a heaped teaspoon of minced beef. Repeat until all mince mixture is used.

Fry meatballs in a little olive oil until lightly browned all over. Make sure they are small, otherwise they’ll break apart in the soup, though that’s not a complete disaster!

When pasta is softened, add meatballs, spinach and basil and stir through. Simmer for another 5 minutes then, if wished, serve with a swirl of pesto on top or a dusting of Parmesan, or both.

An extract from Minced with photography by Alan Gillard. Published by Penguin Group NZ. Copyright © Sue Hamilton and Dana Alexander, 2010. RRP $35.00. Available at all good booksellers nationwide.
  • Suitable Cuts
  • Nutrition

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Serving size: 395g
Energy kJ (kcal) 1290 (308)
Protein (g) 25.2
Fat (g) 4.8
Saturated (g)
Carbohydrate (g) 33.4
Sugars (g)
Sodium (mg) 587
Iron (mg) 5.8
Zinc (mg) 4.1
Vitamin B12 (ug) 0.9
Vitamin D (ug) N/A
Selenium (ug) 5.4

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