"You can taste everything in this minestrone soup - beans, chickpeas, tomato, silverbeet, celery, lots of garlic. We also put in parmesan rinds, which give it an amazing flavour," says chef Khan Danis of Sydney's now-closed Cipro. You'll need to begin this minestrone recipe a day ahead to soak the borlotti beans and chickpeas.
- 100 gm dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water (½ cup)
- 65 gm dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water (1/3 cup)
- 3 large ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, scored
- 150 ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 4 silverbeet leaves, stems removed and diced, leaves sliced
- 1 small carrot, cut into 1cm dice
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1cm dice
- ½ large onion, cut into 1cm dice
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1.25 litres vegetable stock (5 cups)
- 400 gm canned tomatoes, blended with 250ml (1 cup) water
- 1 zucchini, cut into 1cm dice
- 100 gm dried macaroni
- 100 gm green beans, cut into 2cm pieces
- 100 gm Roman beans, cut into 2cm pieces
- 8 cm piece parmesan rind, plus finely grated parmesan to serve
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1½ cups firmly packed (1 large bunch) basil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 100 gm pine nuts
- 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 35 gm finely grated parmesan (1/3 cup)
- of ½ lemon, Juice
- 1Drain chickpeas and borlotti beans, place in separate saucepans, cover completely with water, bring to the simmer over medium heat and cook until beans are tender and chickpeas are just tender (40-50 minutes). Set aside to cool in water.
- 2Blanch tomatoes (20-40 seconds), peel, discard seeds, roughly dice and place in a bowl.
- 3Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add silverbeet stems, carrot, celery and onion and fry until just softened (5-6 minutes). Add garlic, fry until tender (2-3 minutes), then add drained chickpeas and borlotti beans, diced tomato and remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and season to taste. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until all ingredients are soft (10-15 minutes). Remove parmesan rind, adjust seasoning to taste and keep warm.
- 4Meanwhile, for pesto, pound basil and garlic to a pulp with a mortar and pestle. Add pine nuts and half the oil and pound until a smooth paste forms, mix in parmesan, lemon juice and remaining oil and season to taste.
- 5Divide soup among bowls, top with pesto and grated parmesan, drizzle with oil and serve.
Drink Suggestion: Badlands Brewery Pale Ale Drink suggestion by Penny Watson-Green