Thursday 22 March 2018


The addition of pesto at the end will take your minestrone to a different dimension. No one will be able to put their finger on it, but the soup will have a unique, underlying presence of basil and cheese.

This is a crowd pleaser. Young and old will swoon, guaranteed.

You will need

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

12 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

2 litres/1,200g vegetable stock

475ml/300g tomatoes, chopped, peeled

and seeded

475ml/300g pumpkin or butternut

squash, peeled and diced

475ml/300g red Swiss chard, coarsely


475ml/300g cut green beans, cut in

half-inch pieces

8 stalks celery, strings removed and diced

4 carrots, diced

4 courgettes, diced

2 large potatoes, diced

250ml/150g broccoli stems, diced

250ml/150g green peas, shelled

120ml/75g fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

1 tsp sea salt,

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

475ml/300g cannellini beans, cooked

2-6 tbsps pesto


Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over a moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic, stir and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to sweat for about 10 minutes, or until very soft and aromatic. Add the stock, tomatoes, pumpkin, Swiss chard, green beans, celery, carrots, courgettes, potatoes, broccoli stems, peas, parsley, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then immediately adjust the heat to maintain a steady low simmer. Cook until the vegetables are very tender, about one-and-a-half hours. Add the cannellini beans and cook for another 15 minutes. Just before serving, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the pesto to taste.

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