There are times when tradition has it's place and there are times when you are in a hurry. This is the latter. It is just as easy to make in bulk and freeze as it is to make smaller amounts.
I know I am trying to persuade the children that meet free is good but I have to say I think that Minestrone needs bacon/ham as it's base. Any how:
A couple of packets of lardons or left over ham etc. Garlic to taste Bag frozen prepared leeks. Bag frozen mixed veg. 2 tins of beans - not heinz but Haricot etc Dried Pasta: I usually use the fag ends of packets that seem to accumulate because there isn't enough for a meal and break up nice and small. Tomato puree to taste say a large jar. Herbs to taste Olive oil Stock cubes Water Seasoning
Poor a generous slug of olive oil into the pressure cooker and add the lardons and start to fry to release the fat. When sizzling nicely add the leeks and the garlic on top. Put the lid on the cooker and pressurise - you want the leeks to cook down and take a nice colour.
Release pressure and add the veg , stock cubes, water etc - in fact everything but the pasta. stir then add the pasta and stir gently trying to keep the pasta in the top part of the mix so it doesn't catch the bottom.
Lid on and bring back up to full pressure and cook for approx 1/2 hour.
Serve with grated cheese or even better a stir of pesto.
Minestrone? Don't actually dislike it but it's not for me, in spite of the great ingredients list. However DID enjoy reading your recipe.
I havent had a pressure cooker for some years now. Didn't use it for much as I found it hard to judge time for cooking vegetables. But I did use it for making chicken stock. Chicken carcass, a few bits of assorted veg and a pint or two of water. 40 mins cooking and it's sorted. Stock then used for risotto - which I know isn't a favourite in here. Nor is is with my wife.
Derek I have to say making stock was my main reason for buying the pressure cooker! I know the professionals say long and slow but in the real world the pressure cooker is great. I tend to cook for longer than you but stop part of the way through to break up the bones witha potato masher to release maximum goodness. I am certainly with you on the risotto. Ham and courgette is a particular favourite.
I have never tried to use it for vegetables - as you say too hard to judge but it is great for cooking onions down to get that rich translucent pulp that forms the basis for so many dishes.I tend to do them in bulk.
It is great for soups,stews,and especially curries and oddly enough Christmas puddings.
Regarding the Minestrone, this version is really about packing the maximum veg in the most palatable fashion and as such we tend to eat it more as a stew than a soup. Great in food flasks for lunch or in today's case for the childrens supper between hockey and swimming. Much better than sandwiches.
Ham and lentil is another favourite packed with carrot, celery etc. The children love it if I use the stock from ham cooked in Coke!
When I was 5 I was in hospital for several weeks. The why does'nt really matter but the Consultant in charge had an obsession with Tomatoes and insisted that every child had a large tomato every day. Purgatory. The smell of them makes me ill. Yet I love heinz tomato soup, Ketchup, bolognase sauces etc.