Butter Bean, Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesti Soup

This soup is so quick and easy to make: the key is to use good-quality home-made or bought fresh stock for the best result. Using plenty of the pesto and sun-dried tomato purée (paste) gives it a rich, milestone-like flavour. As a alternative to butter beans, haricot (navy) or cannelloni beans will make good substitutes.

Ingredients

900ml/ 1 1/2 pints/ 3 1/4 cups vegetable stock

2x 400g/ 14 oz cans butter (ima) beans, drained and rinsed

60ml/4 tbsp sun-dried tomato purée (paste)

75ml/5 tbsp pesto

Method

1.Put the stock-in a pan with the butter beans and bring just to the boil. Reduce the heat and stir in the tomatoe purée and pesto. Cook gently for 5 minutes.

2.Tranfer six ladlefuls of the soup to a blender or food processor, scooping up plenty of the beans. Process until smooth, then return the purée to the pan.

3.Heat gently, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, then season if necessary. Ladle into four warmed soup bowls and served with warm crusty bread or breadsticks.