Alice Hart's Summer minestrone

There might be a lot of chopping here, but this recipe is child’s play and the result is special enough to warrant the extra effort

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 200g young broad beans, podded weight, skins removed
  • 200g young fresh peas, podded weight
  • 150g green beans, sliced
  • 250g asparagus tips, sliced
  • 950ml vegetable stock
  • a handful each of mint and basil leaves
  • 75ml double cream
  • 4 tablespoons fresh pesto


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and soften the garlic, shallots, celery and fennel. It should take about 10 minutes. Add half the broad beans, peas, green beans and asparagus. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes. Add the other half of the vegetables to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and pour in a little extra boiling water if the soup appears too thick for your liking. Add the herbs and cream and season to taste.

Ladle into warmed bowls and drop a spoonful of pesto into each to serve.