Photography: Dan Robb/ Prop Styling: Jane Hardin
Traditionally this soup is finished by adding stale bread to the broth. We’ve added a lighter twist by finishing the soup with a pesto and crunchy olive oil roasted croutons.
The key to this recipe is time. By allowing the vegetables to cook for a while, you’re building a strong flavour base. Each time you add something it’s another layer of flavour, making this vegetarian soup a deliciously rich and warming meal.
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 cup parsley leaves and stems, finely chopped
1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, drained from their juice
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 340ml tin white cannellini beans
2 cups kale, sliced
1-1.5 litres vegetable stock
Kosher salt and Ground black pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, peeled
½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup basil leaves
Juice from ½ lemon
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup day-old bread, torn into pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and parsley. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 30 minutes, season with salt and pepper.
2. Blend half the beans in a food processor until smooth, set aside. Add the whole beans to the pot along with the kale.
3. Add enough stock to cover, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, adding the pureed beans in the last 10 minutes.
4. To make the pesto, add the garlic and almonds to a food processor. Blitz until a fine crumb has formed. Add the basil, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of water, blending until almost smooth. Tip into a bowl and add the remaining oil, season with salt and pepper.
5. In a small fry pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Toss the bread into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until golden and toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove and season with salt.
6. Check the soup for seasoning then divide between bowls and top with a spoonful of pesto, crispy bread and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.