Recipes aren’t just lists of ingredients – for me, they’re interactions of sort. The author is putting out the recipe as part and parcel of an exchange of knowledge, and of culture and identity: they’re sharing their skills, and a memory attached to the dish we’re looking to make. Every recipe I’ve written myself has a little something of ‘me’ in it – my preferences and tastes, and perhaps the recollection of the occasion I first made it.
This one recalls to my mind a vegetable soup my mum used to make regularly in the winter. She’d use fresh organic veg from our weekly delivery box, following one of their recipes. I liked it so much that I continued to make it for myself in my first year of uni, carrying with me a little bit of home. I’d completely forgotten about this now, in my third year – and with the recipe buried away somewhere, I improvised my own.
Hot bowls of hearty soup are an absolute winner in the colder months, and this was no disappointment; the red wine vinegar and basil give so much flavour.
To serve two, you’ll need:
- Two small / one large courgette
- Half one onion
- Half a stick of celery
- One carrot
- Two small cloves of garlic
- Tin of beans – butter, kidney, canellini, chickpeas all work well
- Tomato puree
- Tin of chopped tomatoes
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 150g dried orzo pasta, or other small pasta shape
- Two handfuls fresh basil
- Dried rosemary
- Dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
Begin by dicing the carrot and celery, and roughly chopping the onion. Heat a glug of oil in a large saucepan, and gently cook on a low heat for ten minutes.
Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan, turning up the heat. Cook until fragrant, before squeezing in 1/2 tbsp of tomato puree. Dice the courgette and add to the pan. Cook for another minute, stirring, before pouring in the tin of chopped tomatoes, and stock.
Add a tsp each of the dried herbs, along with crushed chilli flakes if desired. Stir well to incorporate, add a splash of red wine vinegar, and bring to the boil before turning the heat down and simmering for ten minutes. Top up with a little water if it’s looking dry.
Cook the pasta in the pan for fifteen minutes – towards the end, tip in the drained beans to warm through. Stir in the torn basil leaves, season, and taste: add more vinegar if required. After another five minutes, serve in pasta bowls with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, and eat with spoons.