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A nice, big soup which serves as a perfect winter comforter. This is an adaptation of an age old family recipe. My family are Italian and this is adapted from a typical "rustic" country dish. I have adapted it to better suit ingredients found in England and North America as these are the ingredients I can most easily get hold of whilst I am at university. It is easy to prepare and definitely a crowd pleaser, I've served it to everyone from friends at uni to friends' parents after a hard day at work. My seven year old twin cousins also enjoyed it, so I think it's an all-rounder. PS: Can be adapted and other vegetables can be added. Other variations I have made have included broccoli, purple broccoli and spinach.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery leaves
- 3 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 100 g red lentils (or fagioli) or 100 g borlotti beans (or fagioli) or 100 g butter beans (or fagioli)
- 500 ml vegetable stock (preferably non salty) or 500 ml chicken stock (preferably non salty)
- 400 g chopped tomatoes (tinned or self-prepared)
- 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- In a pot, place olive oil on a high heat, allow to heat up and then add the crushed garlic and the chopped onions. Turn to a medium heat. Stir until soft, but not brown. Add carrots, celery (NOT LEAVES!), lentils/beans and cherry tomatoes and stir in, allowing to absorb all the flavours.
- After about 3-5 minutes stirring, allowing the flavours to blend together and the ingredients to soften slightly, add the vegetable stock.
- I usually crush the stock cube, or sprinkle the stock powder over the vegetables and THEN add the water, but everybody will probably do this differently.
- Stir again and place a lid over the pot. Allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes.
- Add tinned chop tomatoes. Stir, and allow to reduce with the lid removed for 5-10 minutes.
- 10 minutes before serving, tear the celery leaves and stir them inches This will give a very pungent smell and will give the soup and exquisite taste.
- Drizzle each portion with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and serve with chunky fresh bread or croutons.
- Buon appetito!