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Pea Minestrone With Sun Dried Tomato, Polenta And Basil Muffins
For the soup:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 small carrot, trimmed, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
150ml dry white wine
750ml vegetable stock
100g orzo pasta
2 medium courgettes, diced into small pieces
300g frozen peas
6 spring onions, trimmed and cut into small rounds
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil
Sea salt and black pepper
For the muffins (Makes 9 muffins):
150g Plain flour
150g Instant polenta
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mustard powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Handful basil leaves, chopped
75g parmesan cheese, grated
250ml semi skimmed milk
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
Preheat Oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5
To make the muffins, in a mixing bowl sift flour, polenta, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mustard powder, season with sea salt and pepper and mix together. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves and parmesan cheese and thoroughly mix. In a separate jug combine the milk, rapeseed oil and eggs, add to the dry mixture and combine together.
Grease a muffin tray and evenly spoon in the mixture. Bake for 15- 20 minutes until cooked and golden brown. Set aside.
For the soup, heat the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan, add the onion and carrot and cook over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring until slightly soft, add the garlic and sweat for a further minute. Add the white wine and increase the heat to reduce by half. Add the vegetable stock and orzo pasta and cook for a further 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the courgettes, peas and spring onions and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the chives, mint, parsley and basil and adjust the seasoning.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and the sundried-tomato, polenta and basil muffins.
Tip: If the soup is a little too thick, add more vegetable stock
The less water you use when cooking peas, the less vitamin C is lost. Steaming helps to conserve this vitamin.
When boiling frozen peas, add enough water to cover, bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 3 minutes. To microwave 227 grams (8oz) of frozen peas add 15ml (1 tablespoon) of water, place in a non metallic container and cover. Cook on full power for 4 minutes (750W) or 4 1/2 minutes (650W).