Autumn, Light Meals, Main, Pasta

Borlotti minestrone with walnut pesto

This recipe is not only extremely tasty, but highly adaptable, which means you can really get creative with it. Throw in any shaped small pasta you like, and any greens that are in season, or sitting in your fridge longing to be used up.

It pays to be a little less bohemian with the beans: you can try other types, but some will tend to go a little mushy. Borlotti are usually best, as these bad boys really know how to hold their shape and bite!

This flavourful minestrone tastes fantastic the next day, too – just add a little extra veggie stock to loosen it up, and feel free to stir in some more fresh greens.

PREP TIME:
15 minutes

TOTAL TIME:
45-1 hour

COOK TIME:
30-45 minutes

SERVES:
4

Ingredients

For the soup

1 tbsp light oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, grated

½-1 tsp chilli flakes

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

Few sprigs fresh thyme

2 x 400g tins borlotti beans, drained and rinsed

1 litre vegetable stock

1 heaped cup fregola pasta, or other small pasta shape of choice

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large bunch rainbow chard, roughly chopped

For the basil and walnut pesto

1 large bunch basil

½ cup walnuts, toasted

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ cup nutritional yeast

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

To serve

Crusty bread

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, and add the onion. Cook until soft and translucent – about ten minutes – then add the garlic and cook for a further minute or so, until fragrant.
  2. Add the chilli flakes and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes more, until the tomatoes begin to soften, then add the tomato purée, ketchup and thyme springs.
  3. Cook for a further minute or so before adding the borlotti beans. Stir to combine, add the stock, stir again, and bring to a boil, before immediately reducing to a low simmer.
  4. Cook for around five minutes, until reduced a little, then season the soup to taste. Add the pasta and extra virgin olive oil and cook for ten minutes more, until the pasta is al dente and the soup has reduced a little more.
  5. While the soup is cooking, make the pesto by adding all the ingredients, bar 4-5 walnuts, to a blender or food processor and blitzing until you've reached the desired consistency. Add a little extra water to loosen, if needed, then cover and set aside.
  6. Sauté the chard for a few minutes in a splash of oil, and stir through the soup just before serving to warm through.
  7. Serve the soup (thyme sprig removed!) with some dollops of pesto and a few of the reserved walnuts, roughly chopped, scattered on top. Add some crusty bread on the side for mopping.

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