A rustic Italian broth packed full of winter vegetables served with a fragrant basil pesto.
Peel the carrot and the onion and cut into small dice. Cut the celery and courgette into small dice the same size as the carrot. Peel and finely dice the garlic. Chop through the spinach leaves. Remove the rosemary and thyme leaves from their stalks and finely chop.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the lardons and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes before adding a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Add the chopped herbs and the bay leaf. Cook for 1 minute and then add the garlic and the tomato puree. Cook for 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 5-6 minutes and then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce th heat to a simmer and add the courgettes and cook for a further 3 minutes. Once the corgettes are cooked and the vegetables are soft, add the borlotti beans and the spinach and cook for a further minute.
Preheat the oven to 180'C.
Roast the pine nuts in the oven on a baking sheet for 6 minutes until golden brown.
Pick the leaves from the basil. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Grate the parmesan.
Place the basil, garlic and oil in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Blitz until you have a smooth puree. Add the pine nuts and pulse for a few seconds. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Check the seasoning.
Serve the soup in a deep bowl with a spoonful of the pesto and crusty bread.
«Be careful to only add the spinach at then end of making the soup. The spinach leaves will wilt and cook very quickly.»