This gutsy soup of butter beans, orzo pasta and hogweed in a tomato broth is a meal in a bowl. With some cans and dried pasta on standby it can be rustled up at a moment’s notice, and is endlessly variable: swap the butterbeans for any canned beans or chickpeas, throw in other vegetables such as courgettes or green beans, and use any pasta shape you have to hand. No herbs are used in this recipe, to allow the subtle flavour of hogweed to shine through, but if you like you could always add a spoonful of our wild garlic pesto to each bowlful as you serve. Otherwise, simply add a trickle of fruity olive oil and scatter over some grated parmesan (or a suitable substitute).
- 200g common hogweed shoots
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 large celery stick, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 200ml (half a can) plum tomatoes in juice
- 1 × 400g can butterbeans, drained and rinsed
- 1 litre light stock
- 40g dried orzo pasta (or other small pasta shape)
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling at the table
- Wash the hogweed shoots and trim away and discard any thick, fibrous stems. Leave them to drain in a colander.
- Put the olive oil in a medium pan set over a low heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook the vegetables gently until softened, stirring from time to time, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes, and stir well, then raise the heat and bring the contents of the pan up to the boil.
- Simmer the tomatoes for 15 minutes, until well reduced and thickened. Add the stock and the butter beans and bring to the boil.
- When the minestrone is boiling, add the orzo pasta and stir well. Bring the soup back up to the boil and cook the pasta for the time directed on the pack (orzo usually takes around 8 minutes). Five minutes before the pasta’s cooking time is up, add the hogweed leaves and stir well.
- Simmer the soup until the pasta is cooked and the hogweed is wilted but still bright green. Taste for seasoning, then ladle the soup into bowls and serve with olive oil to drizzle over.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK