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This refreshing soup works wonderfully hot or chilled and the addition of pungent smashed basil takes the soup to another level.
Summer minestrone soup
1 litre good-quality vegetable stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced finely
2 medium courgettes, diced
250g firm potatoes (jersey benne), sliced thinly
1 bunch asparagus, sliced thinly
1 cup broad beans, skinned if possible
1 cup peas
1 cup fresh basil
75g fresh grated parmesan
extra virgin olive
oil for serving
sea salt flakes, freshly ground pepper
In a large pot add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the onions, cook over a moderate heat without colouring (5min).
Add the courgettes and cook for a further 2min.
Cover with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, add the potatoes and reduce the heat. Cook until the potatoes are just tender (10min-15min depending on size). While the soup is simmering away make the basil paste to serve with it. I use a mortar and pestle but you can easily chop this by hand. Place all the basil leaves and the finer of the basil stalks into the mortar, add a pinch of salt and mash or chop the basil until a coarse, fragrant paste occurs, add the parmesan, stir in the extra virgin olive oil. Set aside until needed.
Finally add the broad beans, peas and asparagus, season with salt and a little pepper, taste and adjust if necessary. Serve either hot or chilled with a generous spoon of the basil paste.
• This recipe comes from Alison Lambert, chef at the Otago Farmers Market.