I left New York for London in the middle of a blizzard and returned to a completely different city. Away go the ubiquitous puffer jackets, away goes the blackened grimy snow that has been piled high for weeks. Out comes the sun and all the happiness that Spring brings after another brutal winter. Back to the farmers’ market I skipped and felt the need for copious vegetables after the excessive comfort foods enjoyed during hibernation. A fresh minestrone topped off with a dollop of pesto really hit the spot.
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 white onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 leek, washed and sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 bunch of rainbow chard, washed and roughly chopped
2 zucchinis, halved lengthways and sliced thickly
1 handful of spinach, washed and roughly chopped
8 cups of good vegetable stock
1 medium potato, peeled
1 cup of cooked cannellini beans
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan, then add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.
2. Continue adding the vegetables one at a time, letting each one cook for a minute or 2 before adding the next.
3. When the spinach has been added, season well with salt and add the stock and the potato.
4. Bring the pan to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is quite soft (approximately 20 minutes).
5. Add the cooked beans and remove the potato with a slotted spoon. Smash the potato with a fork and return to the soup to add thickness.
6. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with a dollop of pesto (or some peppery extra virgin olive oil) and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.