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Velvety Vegetable Soup with Altamura Crostini Recipe by Eileen Dunne Crescenzi
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Velvety Vegetable Soup with Altamura Crostini Recipe by Eileen Dunne Crescenzi

Una vellutata di verdure… When you want to offer your guests something small, warm and nutritious, a vellutata is appreciated. This vegetable soup is a blended minestrone.

Serves 12


– 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 2 medium onions, diced
– 2 medium carrots, diced
– 2 celery sticks, diced
– 2 ripe beef tomatoes, chopped
– 150g French beans, cut in half
– 2 litres cold water
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 2 courgettes, diced
– 1 medium potato, diced
– 20g freshly grated Parmigiano (optional)
– 12 small slices of Altamura bread or sourdough bread, cut 1cm thick
– 120ml fresh cream or 50g goat’s cheese (optional)
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Sweat the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
2. Add the rest of the vegetables except the courgettes and potato.
3. Pour in the water and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and bring up to a simmer. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, then add the courgettes and potato and cook for another 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before stirring in the grated Parmigiano. Using a hand blender, blitz the soup to a velvety consistency.
5. Toast the bread on both sides. Ladle the soup into small soup bowls with a swirl of cream or a knob of goat’s cheese on top, if using.
6. Serve with a slice of toast on the side and garnish with a little fresh parsley.
7. You might decide not to blend the soup, in which case I recommend adding a tin of strained chickpeas, lentils or borlotti beans to the pot 5 minutes before serving.

Eileen Dunne Crescenzi Festa ‘In Italy, eating translates into saporous feasts, merriment and chat, and all guilt  free. I had travelled from purgatory to heaven.’ So begins Eileen Dunne  Crescenzi’s wonderful adventure with Italian food, culture and celebrations. In  Festa the renowned restaurateur shares the recipes and memories that defined her  many happy years living la dolce vita. For every occasion there is a recipe, and for  every recipe there is a story about the trials and triumphs of an Irish food lover’s  life in Italy.

Here the table is the soul of the home – a place to come together, share food and  thoughts, and spend valuable time with loved ones. Eileen’s recipes are designed to  create conviviality and make every occasion a cause for celebration, whether you’re  planning an annual holiday feast, a catch-up with friends or a special homecoming.  Fill your home with the aroma of wonderful food, the sound of clinking glasses and happy chatter, while you create memories that you will treasure forever. To buy your copy visit

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