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Vegetable et Bean Soup

ingredients

1 small aubergine (eggplant)
2 large tomatoes
1 potato, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1 leek
425 g (15 oz) can cannellini beans
850 ml (1 1/2 pints) 3 3/4 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp dried basil
15 g (1/2 oz) dried porcini mushrooms, soaked tor 10 minutes in enough warm water to cover
50 g (1 3/4 oz) 1/4 cup vermicelli
3 tbsp pesto
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)

method

1. Slice the aubergine (eggplant) into rings about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick, then cut each ring into 4.

2. Cut the tomatoes and potato into small dice. Cut the carrot into sticks, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long and cut the leek into rings.

3. Place the cannellini beans and their liquid in a large saucepan. Add the aubergine (eggplant), tomatoes, potatoes, carrot and leek, stirring to mix.

4. Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Add the basil, dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid and the vermicelli
and simmer for 5 minutes or until all of the vegetables are tender.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.

7. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if using.

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