This Minestrone Soup with Pesto is a perfect solution for a cold night: a warming bowl of this chunky Italian soup. If you don’t want to add pasta, cooked beans or rice also work well and help to make it a satisfying option, which is actually very healthy and nutritious.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, fennel, chilli and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, until softened but not beginning to brown.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, stock and tomato purée. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the liquid has slightly reduced and all the vegetables are completely tender.
Add the spaghetti and simmer for another 10 minutes, until the spaghetti is al dente – tender but still with a little bite.
Stir in the green beans and basil, then season to taste and cook for another minute or two, until the beans are just tender. Ladle into warmed bowls, then add a swirl of pesto to each one. Serve with sourdough bread, if liked.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, trimmed and diced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
1 small red chilli, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g (14oz) cans of chopped tomatoes
1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
150g (5oz) spaghetti, snapped into short lengths
100g (4oz) green beans, trimmed and diced
1 tbsp torn fresh basil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
pesto, to garnish (homemade or good-quality shop-bought)
sourdough bread, to serve (optional)