Spring minestrone soup

This pretty soup of green baby vegetables, sweet Italian bacon and brightly flavoured herbs is sure to become a firm favourite
By Jenni Muir
Spring minestrone soup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

Main

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 250 g pancetta or bacon
  • 50 g short grain rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1.5 ltr chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50 g fresh peas
  • 200 g broad beans
  • 100 g tips of asparagus
  • 100 g baby courgettes, sliced
  • 4 tbsp mixed fresh herbs, chopped
  • a few strands of lemon zest, to taste
  • salt and black pepper

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and fry gently for 15-20 minutes or until it is translucent. Add the pancetta, rice and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Pour in chicken stock, add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a small pan of water to a boil. Add the broad beans and cook for 1 minute. Drain, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the beans, then drain again. Peel and discard the skins.

3. Add the peeled broad beans, peas, asparagus tips and courgettes to the soup and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are brightly coloured and just tender. Stir in the chopped herbs and lemon zest, then discard the bay leaf. Season to taste with salt (you won't need much, if any) and black pepper and serve the soup hot.

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