by David Loftus (Atlantic Books, 2012)
I've long been a fan of the food photographer David Loftus, and have enjoyed the rare chances I've had to work with him, so I was obviously pleased to contribute a recipe to his own book. Unsurprisingly, it's a beautiful volume, with a great collection of eat-me recipes. I've showcased a timely one from his great collaborator Jamie Oliver, whose introduction to the book is touching, thoughtful and just bang-on.
Nowadays, Chicago has the third largest Italian-American population in the United States, but when Fogg passed through there were apparently only forty-three Italian residents from Sciliy and Italy's southern states. Jamie Oliver, an Englishman with an Italian 'Godfather', has made me this soup many a time, most memorably while visiting an island women's prison.
For the minestrone:
Put a large pan on a medium heat and add a few lugs of good olive oil, the onion, garlic, carrots and bacon. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes, then add the courgettes and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft.
Add the tomato, parsley, greens and peas, then pour in your stock and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the mini pasta and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
While your soup is brewing, make the pesto. Take a large bunch of fresh basil, a couple of garlic cloves, 40g of grated Parmesan cheese and 60g of pine nuts and pound them all together with a pestle and mortar, loosening the mixture with extra virgin olive oil.
Just before the soup is ready, stir in the lettuce, chicory or radicchio and courgette flowers, if using. Check the seasoning, add salt and pepper if necessary, and serve each helping of soup with a good dollop of pesto, a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of the little basil leaves.
Posted by Nigella on the 13th Jun 2012