Hairy recipe: Spring Vegetable Broth
800ml vegetable stock
50g baby new potatoes, scraped and sliced into rounds
50g baby carrots, trimmed and halved lengthways
4 baby leeks, or 6 spring onions, shredded
1 sprig tarragon
1 piece pared lime zest
200g asparagus, trimmed and cut into lengths
2 small courgettes, sliced into thin rounds
100g peas, either freshly podded or frozen
4 artichoke hearts, sliced (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
A small bunch of basil leaves
For the dumplings:
150g ricotta or low fat Quark
A few basil leaves, very finely chopped
Semolina, for dusting.
First make the dumplings in advance. Drain the cheese and put in a bowl. Break up with a fork, add the parmesan and basil and season well. Mix together. Sprinkle semolina over a small roasting tin or tray. Wet the palm of your hands and dip in the semolina – this will stop the dumplings sticking too much. Form the mixture into 12 small dumplings, dropping them into semolina as you go. Cover with more semolina, then leave to chill over night.
To make the soup, heat the vegetable stock in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the new potatoes, carrots and leeks along with the tarragon and lime zeset, and season with salt. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the asparagus, courgettes, peas and artichoke hearts and simmer for a few more minutes until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through and the green vegetables are still fresh and al dente.
Whizz the oil and basil together with a tiny amount of water if necessary to form an oil.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add salt. Turn down to a simmer. Shake off any excess semolina from the dumplings and drop into the water. Cook for 4-5 minutes until they float – then will be done. Remove with a slotted spoon – be careful, they will be fragile.
Serve the soup in shallow bowls, garnished with the basil oil and the dumplings.