Pappa alle zucchine (Courgette and bread soup)
This amazing beauty of a soup is based on the Italian classic pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup). It's a principle you can embrace with lots of different veg, as it's essentially about cooking them low and slow to bring out their deeper flavour and sweetness, then pairing them with some bread to add a bit of body. I've used courgettes here, which are great when they're in season, but it would also work well with fennel, peas, leeks or asparagus.
|2||cloves of garlic|
|1||vegetable stock cube|
|½||a loaf of ciabatta or stale bread|
|Extra virgin olive oil|
|½||a bunch of fresh mint (15g)|
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes / 209 calories
Peel and finely slice the onions and garlic, then trim the courgettes and halve lengthways, cut away the fluffy core and finely slice them. Put all these into a large pan on a medium-low heat with a lug of olive oil. Cook slowly for around 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water, if needed – you want the courgettes and onions to really cook down, and get super-soft and caramelized – go gently, and in return you get big flavour.
Once the time’s up, crumble in the stock cube and tear in the bread in quite rough chunks. Pour in 1 litre of boiling water, bring back to the boil, then simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until thick and delicious. Season to perfection, add a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then finely chop the mint leaves and stir into the soup. Divide between your bowls and tuck in.