Meals and Courses

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 125 g (4 oz) shelled peas or broad beans, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 courgette, diced
  • 125 g (4 oz) French beans, trimmed and cut into 3.5 cm (1½ inch) pieces
  • 125 g (4 oz) plum tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
  • 75 g (3 oz) dried small pasta shapes
  • 10 basil leaves, torn
  • salt and black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • toasted country bread

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the potato, peas or broad beans, courgette and French beans and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are very tender.

Add the pasta and basil to the soup and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente. Adjust the seasoning before garnishing with a scattering of grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with some toasted country bread.

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