• Chunky minestrone with basil paste (Benito Martin)Source: Benito Martin

The ultimate Italian comfort soup, brightened with a chunky basil and parsley oil.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (48 votes)

I always make a fool of myself when I meet real experts on my travels. Here, at Signora Giovanna’s, I managed to do it twice. First in a monumental failure to bake a decent pane carasau, the local crisp flatbread that I fell in love with during my time on Sardinia (God knows how I wanted to succeed and impress the ladies!!), then, when I roasted my vegetables in Giovanna’s wood-fired oven and managed to get a decent amount of amber in with the vegetable. What a klutz! Even though the cooking times are fairly similar, it is best to use three separate roasting trays here so you get to remove every vegetable from the oven as soon as it’s ready. The trays can obviously be cooking alongside.


  • 1 large aubergine, cut into 3 or 4 cm chunks (350 g net)
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 2 red peppers, halved, de-seeded and cut into long strips, 2 cm wide (350 g net)
  • 2 medium zucchini, halved lengthways and then cut into 3 or 4 cm chunks (350 g net)
  • 2 onions, peeled, halved and then each half cut into 4 wedges, 3 cm wide (300 g net)
  • 2 beef tomatoes, halved and each half cut into 3 or 4 wedges (570 g net)
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes
  • 3 large sprigs of rosemary (15 g net)
  • 2 litre vegetable stock
  • 80 g vermicelli egg noodles, angel hair pasta or thin rice noodles
  • 100 g green peas, fresh or frozen, blanched for 2 minutes and drained
  • 70 g pecorino cheese, coarsely grated
  • salt and black pepper


Herb oil

  • 25 g basil
  • 30 g parsley
  • 60 ml olive oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the herb oil, place all the ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor, along with a pinch of salt. Blitz to form a thick paste and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 230°C.

Place the aubergine in a large bowl with 3 tablespoon of the olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Stir well to coat then transfer to a baking tray. Roast for about 35 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown. Keep aside somewhere warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, place the peppers, courgettes and onions in the bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, ½ a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Toss to combine, transfer to a large baking tray, spread out and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during the cooking, until everything is cooked through and starting to gain some colour. Keep warm until ready to serve.

At the same time, place all the tomatoes in the bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the rosemary, ½ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Toss, transfer to a baking tray and roast for about 25 minutes, until starting to colour but still retaining their shape. Again, keep warm until ready to serve.

Bring the stock to a rapid simmer and add the pasta. Cook according to the instructions on the packet.

To serve, spoon the vegetables into the base of a large flat-bottomed bowl, ladle over the stock and the pasta. Top with the peas and pecorino and finish with the herb paste. Serve immediately.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by O Tama Carey. Creative concept by Belinda So. Props: shallow handmade pasta bowls made by Kristin Moore.


View all the recipes from Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Island Feast.