Summer minestrone

  • Preparation Time10 mins
  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh marjoram
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
2 celery ribs, peeled and chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2 1/2-cm pieces
360g French beans, cut into 2 1/2-cm pieces
300g shelled English peas (or substitute frozen)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2L low-sodium chicken stock, enough to cover
250ml double cream
Basil and mint pesto
1 bunch watercress or parsley

For the basil and mint pesto

30g fresh basil leaves
30g fresh mint leaves
50g Parmesan or Romano
50g pine nuts, toasted
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1250ml extra-virgin olive oil
1) In a large, heavy pot add a 3-count of extra-virgin olive oil. Add garlic, onion, bay leaf, marjoram and basil. Saute gently until fragrant.

2) Add the vegetables and cook a little of the moisture out, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pur in the chicken stock and double cream bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 so the flavours can come together - do not let it boil hard.

3) Remove half of the vegetables from the pot and puree and add back to the pot to thicken. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Serve each bowl with a spoonful of basil and mint pesto on top, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with watercress or parsley.

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