Summer minestrone

  • 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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