An Italian soup made with tomatoes, borlotti beans and vegetables served with fresh basil pesto.
Peel and dice the onion, garlic and celery. Peel and dice the carrot into very small dice.
Make a criss-cross in the bottom end of the tomato and blanch it in boiling water for 10 seconds before plunging into ice water. Remove the skin and cut into quarters. Discard the pips and skin so you are only left with 'petal' which you can cut into 4.
Finely chop the parsley, roughly pick the basil, reserve to finish the soup
Sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrot along with a pinch of salt and continue to sweat. By sweating you are releasing all the flavours, softening the vegetable without colouring. Mow add the tomato and cook for 1 minute before adding the veg stock and the borlotti beans. Bring to the boil, take off the heat and add the basil and parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Check and adjust the seasoning.
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry pan. Grate the parmesan.
Roughly pick the remaining parsley and basil from their stalks. Discard the stalks and run the knife over the herbs just a couple of times.
Peel the garlic and cut in half length ways. Remove the central green shoot.
Put the pine nuts, garlic and herbs into a pestle and mortar and grind until the herbs and garlic begin to puree. After a minute or 2, add half of the olive oil and continue to work. Using a spatula remove the pesto from the mortar and place in a bowl, add the remaining olive oil, Parmesan and pepper.
Your pesto should be chunky and rustic!
Serve the soup in a big bowl with a dollop of pesto in the centre and lots of chunky bread.
«If you blitz the soup in a blender it would be delicious eaten cold in the warmer Summer months.»