Friday, January 7, 2011

Antje's Red Pepper and Parsnip Soup

Antje’s Red Pepper and Parsnip Soup with Pesto

Our German friend Antje Kompa works in the magazine publishing business in London, but in her spare time she is a much-in-demand caterer and an extraordinary vegetarian cook. This is an excellent soup she served the last time we were fortunate enough to be her guests for dinner:

For Soup:

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 large red peppers, de-seeded and chopped

About 1 pound of parsnips, peeled and grated

1 quart + 1 pint of vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

For Pesto

2 cups of fresh basil leaves, tamped down

3 cloves of garlic

½ cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/3 cup of pine nuts (or walnuts)

½ cup of Extra Virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan, then stir in the onions and the sherry. Cook over medium-low heat for ten minutes or until the onions are softened.

Stir in the red peppers and parsnips and cook for a further ten minutes.

Add the stock and simmer, covered, for twenty minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Let the soup cool slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor, grind basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheese. Slowly add olive oil while grinding until a thick paste has formed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup hot with a couple of teaspoons of the presto swirled into each serving.

Serves 4

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