WINTER MINESTRONE SOUP WITH ALMOND-BASIL PESTO
Minestrone is one of the comforting dishes that just seems to scream wellness. A wonderful way of using up those odds and ends in the fridge and pantry – Minestrone is as diverse as it is delicious. I usually make this soup in winter because… it’s a soup. As such, winter vegetables and tinned tomatoes are regular features. This is a great base recipe to induct into winter minestrone soup but the beauty of this dish is that you can really make it your own with whatever is seasonal.
Just don’t skip on the Almond pesto – that’s the secret weapon to this soup and a non-negotiable!
1 Small Onion, diced
1 Leak, diced
2–3 Celery Stalks, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1–2 Carrots, finely sliced
Cavolo Nero, about 1 large handful (50g ish), roughly chopped
1 x 400g Tin of Peeled Plum Tomatoes
1 x 400g Tin of Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1l Vegetable Stock,
1 Small Sprig of thyme, leaves only
3 Bay Leaves
Generous Pinch of Salt and Pepper
THE ALMOND BASIL PESTO
15g Almonds, toasted
100g Basil Leaves
1 Very Small Garlic Clove
200ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
Pinch of Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
THE ALMOND PESTO
- Add all the ingredients apart from the oil into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Then, add in the olive oil and pulse until a loose pesto is achieved.
Set aside until needed.
TIP – you will almost certainly have extra pesto leftover and this should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
MAKING THE SOUP
- Place a large, deep pan over a medium heat with a lug of olive oil. Add the onion, celery and leeks to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened and slightly translucent. Add in the Garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes into the pan, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon, along with the carrots, thyme, bay leaves, vegetable stock and the parmesan rind. Mix together and then bring to a bare simmer. Cover and leave to cook for 25-30 minutes.
- Add the cavolo nero, cannellini beans and orzo to the soup and cook for a further 8-10 minutes or until the orzo is cooked.
TIP – I usually cook the orzo separately and then evenly portion each bowl with orzo before adding the soup.
- Remove the bay leaves and parmesan rind and Season to taste. Serve the soup with a spoonful of pesto over the soup and leave the peto on the table – you’ll be going back in for more!