- 2tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
- 2 sticks celery, cut into small dice
- 2 leeks, trimmed and cut into small dice
- 1tbsp tomato purée
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- grated Parmesan, to serve
- For the parsley pesto:
- 50g flat-leaf parsley, stripped from the stalk
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 25g pine nuts, toasted
- 25g Parmesan, finely grated
- 4tbsp olive oil
- To make the soup, heat the oil in a large saucepan, and when hot, add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leeks. Sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the tomato purée and stir well, then add the tomatoes, chilli, cannellini beans, herbs and 300ml water. Season the soup well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
- To make the parsley pesto, place all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and blitz. Then, with the motor running, slowly add the oil until the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Remove the bay leaf and thyme from the soup. Serve in large warm bowls with a spoonful of parsley pesto on top and a little Parmesan. You can leave this soup in the fridge for up to two days and it freezes well.
The pesto keeps in the fridge for several days, just make sure that you pour a thin film of oil over the surface of the pesto to keep it fresh.