Homemade minestrone with a dollop of fresh pesto stirred through, ranks high on my list of comfort foods. To be honest it does not appear on the dinner table that often, as I seldom feel up to all that peeling and chopping when I get home from a hard day at the palace!
We have put together a quick version for you that took literally 15 minutes to prepare, using some frozen and tinned ingredients to save time. While the soup is simmering, prepare some addictive pesto bread.
Local wine aficionado, Michael Olivier * Sir Michael to us * is now pairing a wonderful wine with each Royal Recipe.
1 tbsp butter
4 – 8 tbsp olive oil (depending on how much you enjoy the flavour of olive oil in the soup)
2 medium onions, diced
1 large potato, peeled & diced
250g frozen diced carrots
250g frozen chopped green beans
400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin Four Bean Mix (any mix of small white beans will do),
rinsed & drained
1.25 litres boiling water
5 generous tsp Ina Paarman Beef Stock Powder (which is a vegan product) OR 3 beef stock cubes
250g frozen peas
salt & black pepper to taste
Pesto Princess Basil Pesto
In your favourite soup pot melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the potato and cook for 5 mins, then the rest of the vegetables (except the frozen peas). Pour over the boiling water, and add the stock powder or stock cubes. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 45 minutes on a low heat.
Just before serving add the frozen peas. Simmer until the peas are just done, but still a radiant green. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
Serve in individual soup bowls with a tablespoon of Pesto Princess basil pesto swirled on top, and shavings of Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 + hearty servings
For a low carb version, trade the potato for peeled and diced turnip.
For a heartier meal, add cooked pasta shapes to the soup
a fresh baguette
Pesto Princess basil pesto
While the soup is simmering, mash basil pesto into soft butter until it looks pleasantly green: roughly 2 parts butter to 1 part pesto. Spread liberally on a sliced baguette. Wrap in foil and bake at 180°C for roughly 20 minutes until warmed through.
If you are serving the pesto bread and the soup together as a quick meal, you might want to hold back on adding too much pesto to the soup.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
Graham Beck, The Game Reserve Pinotage 2012
This is a proudly South African grape variety, created here in the 1920s by Professor Abraham Perold.
The label shows the Bat Eared Fox otocyon megalotis which lives in the Graham Beck Private Reserve in Robertson.
The grapes come from Stellenbosch and Paarl and the wine was matured in 3rd and 4th fill barrels for 10 months. A portion was held back in the tank and blended in later to add freshness the the wine.
It looks like: deep plum with garnet edges.
It smells like: ripe cherries and berries with a whisper of oak
It tastes like: strawberries and spiced plums. Full, juicy and elegant with silken tannins and a lingering aftertaste.
It’s good with: Minestrone is a perfect match with this wine. The full flavours of the soup will be well supported by the fruity softness.
Styling & photography – Sam Linsell
Art direction & design – Good Design