Minestrone Primavera – Spring Vegetable Soup

by Mark Broadbent

April 28th 2020

INGREDIENTS

Vegetable stock / brodo:

  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery
  • 1 leek
  • Half a head of fennel
  • 200g button or chestnut mushrooms
  • Handful of parsley stalks
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • Tsp black peppercorns
  • 2L cold water

Minestrone:

  • Generous handful of fresh peas
  • Generous handful of broad beans
  • Half a carrot
  • Half a leek (white part)
  • Half a head of fennel
  • Half a head of celery
  • Bunch of cavolo nero
  • 2 San Marzano tomatoes
  • 6 asparagus spears
  • Half a tin of drained borlotti beans
  • Half a tin of drained black chickpeas
  • Generous handful of minestrone style pasta (Coquillettes or Ditalini work well)
  • Small handful of torn mint
  • Small handful of torn basil
  • Small handful of shredded parsley
  • Small handful of picked lemon thyme leaves
  • Generous fine shavings of Pecorino, to serve
  • Extra Virgin olive oil, to serve

 

MISE EN PLACE

  • Wash / rinse all the vegetables under cold water.
  • Peel and roughly chop the veg for the stock.
  • Trim the basil and parsley stalks ready to use for stock.
  • Roast the onions in olive oil for 30-40 minutes at 180 Fan/200C/Gas 6.
  • Pod the peas, then blanch in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Then plunge into iced water.
  • Pod the broad beans, then blanch in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Then plunge into iced water.
  • Double pod the blanched broad beans by squeezing the skins gently.
  • Finely dice¬†half a carrot and leek.
  • Finely shred the cavolo nero.
  • Finely slice half a fennel bulb into crescent shapes.
  • Finely slice half the celery into crescent shapes.
  • Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and roughly chop on the diagonal.
  • De-skin, de-seed and dice (concasse) the tomatoes: score an X on the bottom of tomatoes and blanch in boiling water for 10 seconds, then plunge into cold water for a few seconds. Peel back the tomatoes skins from the X, chop into quarters and deseed. (Reserve this seeded part and push through a sieve for a strained tomato juice to serve at the end.) Evenly dice the remaining tomato flesh.
  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, undercook by 2-3 minutes.
  • Rinse the borlotti beans and black chickpeas.
  • Shred the parsley, tear the mint and basil and pick the lemon thyme.

METHOD

Vegetable stock / brodo:

  • Add all the stock vegetables to a large pot, including the roasted onions.
  • Cover with 2L cold water.
  • As it comes to the boil add the peppercorns, bay leaves and star anise and skim off any scum on the surface.
  • Reduce to a gentle simmer for 1 hour.
  • Strain through a muslin or fine sieve for a nice clean stock.
  • Reduce the stock further for 20 minutes on a gentle simmer.

Minestrone:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat.
  • Sweat the diced carrots, leeks and 3 cloves of bashed garlic until translucent – no colour at all.
  • Then add the hot stock and poach the celery and fennel for 5 minutes.
  • Drop in the peas, broad beans, cavolo nero, asparagus, pasta and beans for 2 minutes.
  • Ladle your soup into a bowl and add a handful of tomatoes and a drizzle of sieved tomato juice.
  • Then add the herbs and a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Serve with plenty of finely grated pecorino, milled pepper and sea salt to taste.

BATTERIE DE CUISINE

  • Cooking pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Box grater
  • Sieve
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Ladle
  • Serving vessel
  • Bowls
  • Pepper mill
  • Tea towel

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