There are some people who don’t get excited about soups but I’ve found that is invariably because they haven’t tasted a hearty full-flavoured soup like this one! Remember that the starch that leaks out of the pasta will thicken your soup so don’t worry if it’s looking a bit thin before you add the pasta. Don’t worry about adding the liquid when the vegetables are still half raw because if they sit in that liquid boiling away while the pasta is cooking you will finish with vegetables that have lost their life, shape and fresh colour.
Fry 3/4 cup of chopped pancetta or 1 whole sausage of chopped chorizo and 1 diced onion in a drizzle of olive oil. Add 2 sticks of chopped celery, 3 chopped carrots, a small head of chopped broccoli and 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic. Cook on medium heat until almost cooked through. Add 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock, 1 cup of tomato passata or crushed tinned tomatoes, a good pinch of sea salt, a grind of black pepper, 2 tablespoons of basil pesto, 2 bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Add roughly 250g of pasta (any kind that will scoop up the broth well) and cook on high heat until ‘al dente’ or just with a bit of bite. The pasta will be sitting in liquid so be careful of overcooking until it is too soft and soggy.
Serve immediately with generous shavings of Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.