Friday, 8 July 2011

Italian Vegetable Soup

They've started already; the courgettes are on the march! I wasn't expecting the onslaught quite so soon, but they seem to like the weather we've been having this year.

Every year about this time I start cooking recipes to help me use up the courgette mountain that has arrived in the garden; allotment holders and hobby gardeners across the land will all be very familiar with this same annual scenario.

I use them regularly in two different soups, fritters and a couple of salads; I also add them to roast veg as well as stir-fries and a vegetable tart. Admittedly, after a few weeks we get a bit courgetted-out but I still get a ridiculous sense of pleasure from just wandering outside and picking something that will be on our plates within half an hour. I’m easily pleased.

This soup may just look like a rather speckled tomato soup but the courgettes add a subtle sub-taste whilst the pesto gives it an Italian twist.

1 onion, chopped
1 courgette, sliced
1 400g tin of tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
750 ml veg stock
a heaped tbsp of tomato pesto (I use Sacla Organic)
3 or 4 sprigs of basil

Fry the onion, courgette and pepper in the oil for 5 mins, add the garlic and continue to fry for another 5 mins; add the stock and tomatoes and simmer gently for 15 mins.

Take off the heat, add the basil and the tomato pesto then blend with a stick blender until smooth. Thin with a bit more stock if necessary.

Serve in mugs with plenty of good bread.

Serves 4

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