On a bleak winter’s day, nothing can beat this tasty Italian vegetable soup.
- Prep Time : 20-30 minutes
- Cook Time : 45-50 minutes
- Yield : 6 -8
- brown onions - 2, peeled and finely chopped
- olive oil - 3 - 4 tablespoons
- garlic - 4 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- pancetta or streaky bacon - 60g
- carrots - 2, peeled and diced
- celery - 2, sliced
- medium potatoes - 2, peeled and diced
- zucchini - 2, sliced
- freshly shelled peas - 1/2 cup
- large ripe tomatoes - 4, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
- chicken stock - 2 Litres
- bouquet garni - fresh bay leaf, parsley sprig, thyme sprig and rosemary sprig tied together
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- uncooked short white rice - 75g
- borlotti beans - 400g tin, drained and rinsed
- pesto - 2 - 3 tablespoons
- parmesan cheese - 60g, freshly grated
Serves 6 - 8
In a large pan, sweat the onions, garlic and pancetta in the oil until onions and garlic are softened - be careful not to let them brown. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, zucchini and peas and cook until vegetables are softened. Add the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, bouquet garni and season to taste. Bring back to simmering point and skim the surface.Throw in the rice and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Check seasoning. Remove bouquet garni. Ladle into warm bowls, swirl through a little pesto and pass the parmesan at the table.
Tip: substitute tinned cannellini beans if the borlotti beans are hard to find. Alternatively soak 125g dried beans overnight in water to cover. Drain and cover again with water and simmer until tender.
Note: tastes even better the next day!