Jo Pratt's Ratatouille Soup with Pesto Croutons

Comforting, warming and substantial enough to fill you up for hours

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Gently saute the onion and garlic until the onion is beginning to soften but not colour.

Cut the courgettes, aubergine and pepper into approximately 1cm (½in) dice and add to the saucepan. Saute with the onion for about 5 minutes, before adding the passata, red wine vinegar, thyme and stock.

Season with sea salt and a twist of black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, with the saucepan loosely covered with a lid.

While the soup is cooking, the croutons can be made. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas7.

Slice the baguette or ciabatta into pieces about 5mm (¼in) thick. Brush both sides with olive oil, place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for approximately 5 minutes or until they are golden.

Remove the thyme stalk from the soup and stir in the basil. Check for seasoning and serve into bowls.

Add a little pesto on top of the toasts and serve either on top or to the side of the soup.

Hints 'n' Tips

You can easily transform this soup into a sauce for pasta. Simply make as the recipe but omit the stock.

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