Pesto Minestrone with Basil Ciabatta

This recipe works in combination with: Butternut Squash Farfalle, Red Onion & Ricotta Calzone with Tomato Salad, Sunblush Tomato, Olive & Basil Gnocchi. This recipe features in these meal plans: Italian Specials.

An Italian-style mixed vegetable and borlotti bean minestrone with home-made pesto, served with a garlic and basil ciabatta side.


  • 820g of borlotti beans, drained
  • 1 ciabatta loaf, halved
  • 1 large onion (approx 210g), finely chopped
  • 2 small baking potatoes (approx 250g each), peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 medium tomatoes (approx 100g each), coarsely chopped
  • 1 large courgette (approx 310g), cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 medium carrots (approx 125g each), cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 medium leek (approx 260g), coarsely chopped
  • 56g of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 160g of macaroni
  • 20g of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 60g of butter
  • 90 ml olive oil (6 tbsp)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Serves: 4
  • Course: Main Course
  • Preparation time: 15 mins
  • Cooking time: 40 mins
  • Price per person: £2.47
  • Store cupboard: Cook's
  • Calories per serving: 1217
  • 5-a-day per serving: 4.1
  • Print Recipe
Minestrone with Basil Ciabatta photo

830 cooks think so


  1. Preheat the grill. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion, potatoes, leek and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the courgette and one clove of chopped garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Stir the tomatoes, pasta, stock and 250ml water into the pan and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add extra water if the minestrone becomes dry.
  3. Whilst the minestrone is simmering, prepare the pesto. Heat a small frying pan and toast the pine nuts for 1 minute, or until lightly browned. Put two-thirds of the basil into a pestle and mortar or food processor and add the pine nuts and one clove of chopped garlic. Blend the mixture until it becomes a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually blend in 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and the Parmesan cheese until it has a sauce-like consistency.
  4. Make garlic and basil butter for the ciabatta by mixing the butter with the remaining garlic and basil until smooth, then season with salt.
  5. To finish the minestrone, add the borlotti beans and two-thirds of the pesto. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, place the ciabatta halves on a baking tray and spread on the garlic and basil butter. Grill for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through and the garlic and basil butter has melted.
  7. Divide the minestrone between bowls, spoon over the remaining pesto and serve with the garlic and basil ciabatta.

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