Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Minestrone Soup

1-2 tblspn olive oil or butter
1 leek cleaned and chopped
1 onion, peel and diced
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 carrot, chopped into a small dice
1 zucchini, chopped into a small dice
1 bunch of cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage), roughly chopped (about 180g)
3 bay leaves (fresh if you can get them)
1 big handful of chopped parsley
200g tinned Italian tomatoes
1 5cm piece of Parmesan cheese rind
125g tinned chickpeas
1.5 litres of cold water (approx)
1-2 tblspn Pesto (homemade preferably)
salt and pepper

1. Put all the chopped vegetables into a large saucepan and drizzle with 1 tblspn olive oil or butter. Stir vegetables constantly on a low heat for a few minutes until vegetables start to soften and ‘sweat’. Don’t over fry or brown the vegetables.
2. Add the tinned tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Sprinkle over a teaspoon of sea salt and top with around 1.5 litres of water to cover the vegetables.
3. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer for around 20 mins. (Remove the Parmesan rind after about 10 mins of cooking).
4. Add a dollop or two of Pesto sauce and the chickpeas. The amount of Pesto will depend on how strong your pesto is. Start off with one tablespoon and taste – the Pesto shouldn’t overpower the soup but give a good flavour.
5. Cook for another 5-10mins and give a good stir and taste. Adjust seasoning if required and add few grinds of pepper.

Serves 4-6.
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