In the summer when you have such a great choice of seasonal green vegetables, you are spoiled for choice. This recipe makes the most of such seasonal vegetables and is an impressive yet straightforward recipe which is bound to impress whether you serve it to family for a weekend lunch or to guests at a more formal gathering.
Minestrone Primavera by Tom Randall
For the minestrone primavera
150g/5½oz asparagus, chopped
100g/3½oz shelled fresh peas
100g/3½oz shelled fresh small broad beans
150g/5½oz fine green beans, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
¼ head celery, finely chopped
200g/7oz waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
500ml/18fl oz fresh chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
50ml/2fl oz double cream (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pesto
50g/1¾oz fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, finely chopped, crushed with a little salt
50ml/2fl oz olive oil
2 tbsp pine nuts
4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative)
For the minestrone primavera, blanch the asparagus, peas, broad beans and green beans in a pan of boiling salted water for a few minutes until cooked but with a crunch. Drain and set aside on a tray.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan, add the spring onions, celery and potatoes and fry for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock (or you could simply use some of the water used to cook the vegetables). Add the blanched vegetables. Stir in the double cream (if using) and season with salt and pepper. Blend with a hand blender, but leave it chunky.
For the pesto, place all the ingredients into a food processor with a tablespoon of water and blend to make a smooth pesto.
Serve the minestrone in bowls with a drizzle of fresh pesto on top.