This one speaks for itself really; fresh, hearty, healthy, tasty … need I say more. The fresh herb pesto gives the flavour an extra zingy boost, and is a good way of preserving herbs if you’ve got some to use up. The fun of a recipe like this is its infinite adaptability, if you’ve got other vegetables lying around to use up, throw them in, likewise with other beans or pulses.
Winter minestrone soup with fresh herb pesto
For the winter minestrone soup:
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, medium dice
2 medium leeks, finely sliced
2 carrots, medium dice
1 stick of celery, finely sliced
1 medium courgette, medium dice
4 big leaves of chard or similar e.g. spinach or kale
4 large leaves of savoy cabbage
1 tin of chopped plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 tin of borlotti beans
For the fresh herb pesto:
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Large bunch of mixed herbs; I used parsley, chervil & lemon thyme
1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
Large splash of olive oil to bind it all together
Salt to taste
In a large heavy based saucepan add the chopped garlic, onion and leek with a splash of olive oil and sweat gently on a low heat for 5 minutes.
Once they start to soften add the chopped carrot, celery and courgette, and if using kale finely chop the stalks and add them too. Wash and shred the kale and cabbage leaves into thick ribbons then set aside.
Cook gently for a further 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and herbs and turning up the heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat so it is simmering gently. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.then add the kale and cabbage leaves and beans.
Cook for a further 5 minutes before seasoning well to taste and serving with a decent dollop of fresh herb pesto.