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AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DISHES

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DISHES

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.

iNGREDIENTS

For the minestrone:

  • Extra vrgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 200g/7oz small carrots, finely sliced
  • 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 200g/7oz baby courgettes, finely sliced
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • A bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, stalks and all
  • 2 big handfuls of seasonal leaves, such as chard or cabbage shredded
  • 2 big handfuls of frozen peas
  • 2 litres/3½ pints organic vegetable stock
  • 150g/5oz baby farfalle pasta
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 big handfuls of soft round lettuce leaves
  • ½ a head of chicory of radicchio, shredded
  • A few torn courgettes flowers, if you can get them.

 

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.