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Pumpkin Minestrone

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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, finely sliced
1 stick of celery, finely sliced 1 large carrot, diced
2-3 tomatoes, skinned and diced
1.2 litres/2 pints boiling water
225 g/8 oz slice of pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
1 large potato, diced
Bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, bay leaf)
50 g/2 oz macaroni or other tubular pasta
1 tablespoon pesto
Salt and pepper

To finish

4 slices of day-old rough country bread
1 garlic clove, halved
Parmesan cheese, grated
Olive oil


Serves: 4


1. Heat the oil gently in a large saucepan, add the leek, celery and carrot and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes and then the boiling water, the diced pumpkin and potato, and bring back to the boil. Tuck in the bouquet garni and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are nearly tender.

2. Stir in the pasta and cook for another 12-15 minutes, until the pasta is tender.

3. Stir in a generous spoonful of pesto, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

4. To finish, rub the bread with the garlic and place a slice in the bottom of four hot soup plates. Ladle on the soup and serve hot. Hand grated cheese and extra olive oil separately.

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