Anne Cooper and George Woodyard have a thing for soups. The duo behind Morris in Paddington (and Bart Jr in Redfern) has made soups a regular part of the menu there. The soups change daily but favourites are repeated, often with a variety of different toppings including herb oils, walnut pangrattato, Parmigiano or crispy chickpeas.
The minestrone verde (green minestrone) is a crowd favourite. The broth, made with celery, garlic, chilli and stock, is strained for a clear base. Vegetables, pasta and toppings are added afterwards. “We love this recipe because it is a soup you want to eat no matter if it’s freezing cold or one of these weird warmer days,” says Woodyard. “The underlying chilli in the recipe also gives you that little warm buzz.”
For the minestrone:
60ml olive oil
2 medium/large brown onions, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
4L of chicken or vegetable stock, if using a powder, use Massel brand (tinned stock powder), for the best result.
1 small fennel, sliced finely and then cut into small pieces
1 leek, cut in half length ways then thinly sliced
2 zucchinis, made into noodles with a mandolin or spiraliser
1 cup of frozen peas, defrosted
1 bunch of broccolini cut into 2cm lengths, blanched in boiling water
2 x 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
100g spaghetti broken into thirds and cooked until al dente
2 cups of green kale shredded into 1cm-wide pieces
For herb oil:
Use a large handful of green herbs (whatever you have in your fridge or garden that needs to be used), such as a combination of any of the following: mint, basil, coriander, parsley, dill, chives.
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ a lemon, juiced
For walnut pangrattato:
1 loaf of bread (a day old is preferable but fresh will work, we recommend Sonoma brown rustic), torn up into small pieces and blitz in your food processor until you have small breadcrumbs.
1 cup of minced garlic (the easiest way to do this is to buy a bag of peeled-garlic from your green grocer and blitz in your food processor)
1/4 cup olive oil (may need a little more depending on the bread you use)
Salt and pepper
2 cups finely chopped, toasted walnuts
Add 40ml of olive oil, onion, celery, garlic and chilli into a large stockpot or saucepan. Fry off mixture on a medium-high heat until soft and starting to caramelise. Add in brown sugar and cook, stirring for another minute. Add in chicken stock and allow mixture to come to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes to infuse the stock with the garlic and onion mixture.
Drain the stock through a sieve into a large bowl or container. Keep the stock and throw away the garlic/celery/onion mix left in the sieve.
Put your saucepan back on the heat and add the remaining 20ml of olive oil. Add fennel and leek and cook until just tender. Pour your stock back into the pan with the fennel and the leeks.
Add the cannellini beans to the stock. Bring the stock to heat when you are ready to serve.
To make the herb oil, blitz your green herbs with the olive oil, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice in a food processor, bullet or blender until you have a smooth green olive oil. If you want a real lemony hit, you can add the zest of half a lemon before you blend.
This oil will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to three months. Just take out 20 minutes before you need to use so the oil can liquefy.
To make the pangrattato, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Mix the blitzed breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl until evenly mixed. Place the mixture onto two large flat oven trays (lined with baking paper). Place trays in oven and set a timer to stir the breadcrumbs every 10 minutes.
The breadcrumbs are done when they are crunchy and golden brown. Once bread crumbs are cool, mix in the chopped walnuts. This pangrattato will keep very fresh for around two months in a sealed, airtight container. It is great on salads, pastas and other soups.
In your soup bowls, build your soup by adding a little of the spaghetti, zucchini noodles, kale, peas and broccolini to each bowl. The bowl should be about half full before you add your stock. Ladle your hot stock into the bowls over the ingredients. The hot stock will heat all your ingredients through, and by keeping them separate until serving, they won't lose their fresh texture or start to discolour.
Season each bowl with some salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of the herb oil on top, followed by a generous sprinkle of the pangrattato. Lastly, using the finest grater you have, grate the parmesan cheese straight on top of each soup.