Every now and then I get a real craving for a soup like this, fresh with chunky vegetables and filling pasta, topped with dollops of pesto and Parmesan shavings. You can use whatever veg you fancy or you have in the fridge. Broad beans, asparagus, broccoli…
1 banana shallot or a few small shallots, diced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunky slices
1 stick of celery, sliced
100g orzo or risoni pasta
2 courgettes sliced
2 handfuls of curly kale leaves ripped into pieces
500ml each of hot vegetable and chicken stock
Zest of half a lemon
Sea salt and black pepper
Warm 1tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan with lid. Add the shallot and fry until softened. Add the carrot, celery and courgettes and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften but not browned. Season lightly. You won’t need much salt as the stock will be quite salty.
Pour in the hot stock and bring up to the boil, turn down, cover and simmer for around 10 minutes until the vegetables are just soft.
Add the pasta and kale, cover and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes until both are soft. Taste and check for seasoning. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, then serve with pesto (obviously homemade pesto would be delicious if you have the time) and lots of shaved Parmesan. A few slices of crusty bread to mop up the soup would be welcome too.