Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spring Minestrone with Pesto


This weeks soup is Jamie Oliver’s Spring Minestrone from Jamie’s Kitchen – I’m sure he would forgive me for making this in Autumn! The pesto on top is a nice touch which boosts the flavour wonderfully. As you can see from the photo it is not the most photogenic of soups but it is packed full of fresh healthy veggies & I think I can safely say I have now filled my fiber content for the week!

Spring Minestrone

6 heaped tablespoons fresh pesto (see recipe below)
1.5 litres chicken, ham or vegetable stock
1 bulb fennel
100g fine asparagus
2 Romanesco or 1 large cauliflower
6 baby courgettes
6 plum tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
100g green beans, finely sliced
100g yellow beans, finely sliced
100g peas, podded
100g broad beans, podded
100g spaghetti, broken up (or other small soup pasta)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 small handful of green or purple basil
1 small handful chives

Bring a pot of stock to the boil. Then prepare all of the vegetables & put to the side. The fennel has to be halved, sliced & finely chopped, the asparagus needs to have the woody ends removed, the stalks finely sliced & the tips left whole, the cauliflowers need to be divided into small florets, the courgettes need to be quartered lengthways & finely chopped & finely the tomatoes need to be blanched. Cut them in half, remove the pips & finely slice.

In a casserole type pan (quite wide but not very deep) put 5 tablespoons of olive oil & heat the pan on medium heat. Add the garlic, spring onions & fennel & gently fry without coloring at all for about 15 minutes. Then add the rest of your prepared vegetables, the pasta & your boiling stock. Bring to the boil, simmer for about 10 minutes, season & serve in big bowls with a dollop of fresh pesto in the middle & a sprinkling of chopped basil & chives & a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Pesto

¼ clove of garlic, chopped
3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked & chopped
1 handful of pinenuts, very lightly toasted
1 good handful of grated parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
optional: small squeeze of lemon juice

Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt & the basil leaves in a pestle & mortar: or pulse in a food processor. Add a bit more garlic if you like. Add the pinenuts to them mixture & pound again. Turn out into a bowl & add half the parmesan. Stir gently & add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce to get it to an oozy consistency.

Season to taste, then add the rest of the cheese. Pour in some more oil & taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste & consistency. It may need a squeeze of lemon juice at the end but it’s not essential.

1 comment:

kitchen hand said...

The pesto's a brilliant idea. I'm always looking for ways to use pesto.