Gordon Ramsay's Cod Minestrone Soup Sneaks In Some Heat With Tabasco

On a cold day, nothing beats a hearty cup of minestrone: A flavorful, vegetable-heavy soup that invites variation. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay takes full advantage of the soup's potential by bringing the heat. Ramsay recommends a spicy minestrone with some cod thrown in. The added heat, however, doesn't take the form of fresh chili peppers, dried pepper flakes, or even powdered, ground spices. Rather, Ramsay is all about Tabasco. He uses the hot sauce in small amounts — but for big upgrades. 

"The secret here is to add a little bit of heat into the soup," Ramsay explained in a YouTube cooking tutorial for GoodFoodWineShow. Ramsay opts for the specific hot sauce in place of chilis, which he deems overpowering due to their high level of spiciness. He bypasses the overt chili flavor for just a splash of more discrete Tabasco. If you're making the recipe for yourself, you can season your minestrone accordingly.

As for how, why, and when to add the hot sauce, it's best to follow Ramsay's lead by adding the heat early on in the minestrone-making process. 

Add Tabasco to minestrone for a burst of all-encompassing flavor

Once you've added your greens, it's time to think red. Ramsay adds both vegetables and barley to his minestrone pot, and after they've had some time to soften, he seasons them with herbs, salt, and pepper. Then, after he adds sliced green beans to the pot, Ramsay mixes in just a dash of that secret, beloved ingredient: Tabasco. This addition happens before the cod even enters the soup, and is one step you don't want to forget. 

After all, hot sauce not only adds heat but also flavor. With seafood specifically, Tabasco acts as a brightener, making the dish all the more vibrant and pronounced. In a soup, it likewise works wonders, as hot sauce can revive the likes of canned lentil soup. This benefit is thanks to hot sauce's tart, spicy flavors. That same value applies to minestrone, where the hot sauce can flavor broth, complement vegetables, and bring the entire dish together in a way that's anything but bland. 

If you want to personalize your minestrone all the more, you can even experiment with different Tabasco flavors and spice levels. However, standard Tabasco is good enough for Gordon Ramsay — so it's good enough for the best minestrone.