Serves 6 as a main course
I picked up the original version of this recipe many years ago in a little book called Cheap Eats. It has turned out to be one of my most popular and practical recipes. Most of the ingredients can be kept in the cupboard and you can whip this soup up in minutes.
Finely chopped onion, celery, carrots, garlic and herbs are regularly used in Italian cooking as a flavour base. This is called a 'soffrito' and is a tasty and nutritious way to flavour soups and casseroles. I always have these veggies in the kitchen for this reason.
* 2tbls olive oil
* 1 onion, diced
* 2 carrots, diced
* 2 sticks celery, diced
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1tsp dried oregano or mixed Italian herbs
* 1 tin chopped tomatoes
* 3tbls tomato paste
* 750ml vegetable stock
* 1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* 1 tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
* 4tbls fresh parsley, chopped
* 6tbls basil pesto, to serve
* Heat the oil in a large pot over a low heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook over a low heat until soft but not browned. It can help to place a piece of parchment paper directly down on top of the soffrito to trap the steam.
* Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
* Add the beans and chickpeas and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
* Season and stir through the parsley.
* Dish up a bowl for each person and swirl through a tablespoon of basil pesto.