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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
- about 120 ml olive oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthways and sliced
- 3 celery sticks, sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 250 ml white wine
- 400g tinned Italian plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chopped oregano
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- salt and black pepper
- 160 g stale sourdough bread (crust removed)
- 400 g cooked chickpeas
- 4 tbsp basil pesto (ideally homemade)
- 1 handful shredded basil leaves
- Heat the oven to 180 °C / gas mark 4.
- 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 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 plenty of olive oil and finish with shredded basil, if you like.