I recently made a warming soup as part of The Good Food Show ‘Stoves Live Cook’ development stand. Inspiration was taken from the wonderful Irish cook Rachel Allen and her potato soup with chorizo and kale and walnut pesto.

The reason I chose this particular soup was that I have a slight addiction (huge addiction) to pesto and In that I mean when it comes to pesto anything goes. As an Italian I am a purist in many things when it comes to Italian cooking as I specialise in cucina povera cooking. The only point really when it comes to pesto is the oil. I love to use Extra virgin olive oil as I love the peppery taste (not everyone does) and at a push olive oil will do perfectly too, but please no other oil otherwise it really isn’t pesto.

Pesto was born in the region of Liguria, from Genova to be more specific and the original pesto of course was basil pesto. ‘Pesto alla Gevonese’. Normally served with the local regional pasta of trofie and is always made using a pestle and mortar as it give you a rustic textured pesto. Here for ease I’ve opted for a food processor. The great news is that asparagus season is just around the corner and it makes the best pesto ever!! #SouthernItalianFamilyCooking

Here is Rachel’s pesto, I love the rustic charm of the pesto, a combination of kale, spinach and basil can be used. Adding basil will keep the pesto a little lighter and will reduce the bitterness. I would double the pesto recipe. Remember pesto keeps well in the fridge but freezes well too in ice cube trays. So here is Rachel’s recipe, amend it to suit your family.


  • 25g butter
  • 425g potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 15g onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 250ml milk
  • 250g Chorizo, cut into tiny cubes
  • Pesto
  • 110g kale (I love cavolo nero or spinach), blanched and tightly squeezed
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 50g walnuts, toasted
  • 30g Parmesan, grated
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Into a food processor for ease add the blanched kale and blitz.
  2.  Add the garlic, walnuts, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Blitz
  3. Add half of the extra virgin olive oil and blitz again. Now slowly add the remaining oil until the pesto reaches the perfect dropping consistency.
  4. Pesto keeps in the fridge for up to a month as long as it’s always topped with extra virgin olive oil and you don’t double dip!!

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Spinach pesto with walnuts and pine-nuts


  1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the onions and potatoes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and cover the pan with a little greaseproof and allow the potatoes and onions to sweat a little (10 minutes).
  3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Pour in the milk and simmer in the soup for 5 minutes.
  5. Fry the chorizo off with no oil.
  6. Check the soup for seasoning and blitz the soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  7. Serve the soup in a warm bow with a drizzle of pesto and a topping of ruby chorizo.