This recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi's vegetarian cookbook "Plenty". It was published in guardian.co.uk
- Serves four to six.
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
- 5 Tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzle over finished soup
- 1 large carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthways and sliced
- 3 celery sticks, sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 14oz tinned Italian plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 tsp dry
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp caster sugar (or super fine sugar)
- 1 qt vegetable stock
- salt and black pepper
- 160 g stale sourdough bread (crust removed)
- 14oz cooked chickpeas (canned are fine)
- 4 tbsp basil pesto (ideally homemade)
- 1 handful shredded basil leaves
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the onion and fennel in a large pan, add three tablespoons of oil and sauté over medium heat for four minutes.
- Add the carrot and celery, and soften, stirring occasionally, for four minutes.
- Add the tomato purée, stir for a minute, then add the wine and let it bubble for a minute or two.
- Add the tomatoes, herbs, sugar and stock, and season.
- Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, break the bread into medium-size chunks, toss with two tablespoons of oil and some salt, and scatter in a roasting tin.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until thoroughly dry, then set aside.
- About 10 minutes before you want to serve, put the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin; you want some to be left whole.
- Add the chickpeas to the soup and simmer for five minutes.
- Next add the toasted bread, stir and cook for another five minutes.
- Taste the soup and add salt and pepper liberally.
- Ladle the hot soup into bowls.
- Spoon some pesto in the centre, drizzle with olive oil and finish with shredded basil, if you like.