Light summer soup with pistou
I wrote this recipe for my cookbook, In One Pot, and it has become one of my favourites. I love the lightness and fresh taste and it’s a great way to use all those delicious green vegetables that are at their best in the summer months. This recipe has beans and peas but you could also try artichokes, asparagus or broad beans instead.
I think of this as a Provencale soup, but the Italians have a version which I also adore, called zuppa alla Genovese. Overall the concept is the same: lightly cooked seasonal vegetables in a clear stock, or water with a spoonful of pistou (or pesto if you’re in Italy) stirred in at the end.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 500g courgettes, cut into cubes
- 400ml water or chicken stock
- 1 tin or 400g cooked cannellini beans
- 20g basil, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil to serve
- In a large, heavy-based pan with a lid, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for 10-15 minutes or until soft, golden and sweet. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, then add the courgettes.
- Stir well, cover and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the courgettes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When the courgettes are really soft and sweet tasting, add the beans and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Finally add the peas and cover with the water or stock. Season well and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the beans are soft.
- Meanwhile prepare the pistou: pound the garlic to a paste with salt, ideally in a pestle and mortar. Then add the pine notes and basil and crush to a thick green paste. Pour in the oil and mix together to loosen.
- Serve the soup with a spoonful of pistol in the middle and stir through.