I love this minestrone – it feels fresh and electric with the contrasting pesto, while the risotto rice sucks up all the incredible flavour and is extremely comforting. Minestrone has always felt like a wonderful fallback recipe – from my days as a student to being a busy parent, I love reacting to what’s available at the market, growing in the garden, or even the odds and ends hiding in the veg drawer, to create a beautiful bowl of soup.
Serves 6 to 8
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 2 onions
- 2 sticks of celery
- olive oil
- 600g mixed green veg, such as courgettes, fennel, tenderstem broccoli, asparagus, chard, kale, peas, broad beans
- 200g Arborio risotto rice
- 2 litres organic chicken or veg stock
- 1 mixed bunch of fresh rosemary & thyme (30g)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 50g Parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
Peel the onions and celery, then finely chop both and place in a large pan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is a good time to prep your green veg, chopping courgettes and fennel into 1⁄2cm chunks, and finely slicing broccoli, asparagus, chard and kale. Put the veg aside. Stir the rice into the pan for 2 minutes, then pour in the stock. Tie the herbs together and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the garlic and pound into a paste in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt. Finely grate in the Parmesan and lemon zest, squeeze in the juice, and muddle in 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Stir the veg into the soup and simmer for a final 10 to 15 minutes, ensuring that the veggies retain their vibrancy. Season to perfection, then divide between warm bowls. Finish with spoonfuls of the pesto.
Sat Fat: 3.4g
Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2018 Jamie Cooks Italy), photography: David Loftus.