Minestrone Soup



Diary of a Wannabe Chef: Day 3 of my Chef Diploma at Ceria, Brussels

There are about 15 people in my cooking class, and each week we split into three teams; 1 for the starter, 1 for the main, and 1 for the dessert.  This week, however, there was no dessert, but two starters!  I was involved in the main, however, I enjoyed the Minestrone so much, that I thought I would share this with you.  There is also nothing better to heat you up on a cold winters day!

Starter 1: Oeuf a la Russe (Russian Eggs)

Starter 2:  Minestrone

Main: Boulettes sauce tomate avec frites (Meatballs in tomato sauce with chips)

Techniques Used:

  • Brunnoise:  this means that you cut the vegetables into small cubes, of approximately 0.5cm each side.  First cut the vegetable into a julienne, long thing strips, and then cut the vegetable into a cube to create brunnoise.


  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Carrots
  • 3 Celery sticks
  • 1/4 Turnip
  • 1/4 celeriac
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • 1 large tablespoon Tomato paste
  • 2 litres Chicken stock
  • 100g Green beans
  • 100g Peas
  • 100g Pancetta
  • 30g Basil
  • Grated parmesan (to taste)
  • 200g of Macaroni
  • 1 x 400g tin of Canellini Beans / 400g of dried beans
  • 1 Bay leaf

Please note that measurements given are approximate.


  1. If using dry Canellini Beans place in a pan with cold water, and bring to the boil, simmer until cooked (approximately 2 hours)

TOP TIP:  when cooking dry lentils or dry beans never put salt in the water.

  1. Prepare the green beans and peas using the French cooking technique a l’anglaise.  This means that you bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, when it is boiling, add the green beans and peas, when cooked, drain, and add them directly to iced cold water.  Drain again, and leave to one side.

TOP TIP:  Adding them directly into iced cold water ensure that the vegetables stop their cooking process, and retains a bright green colour.

  1. Prepare the celery, carrots, turnip and celeriac to be cut into small cubes (brunnoise).  Finely chop the onion.
  2. Sauté the celery, carrots and onion in some butter.  Then add the turnip and celeriac.  Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring occasionaly, until the tomato paste is dry.
  3. Add the stock and bay leaf and bring to the boil.
  4. In a processor, process the pancetta, garlic, and basil, and leave to one side.
  5. When the vegetables are cooked, add the pasta (approximately 100g of pasta per 1 litre of liquid), the canellini beans, and the bacon mixture, cook until the pasta is ready (approximately 10 minutes), and add the green beans and peas, until warmed through, and serve.

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