Pesto minestrone with asparagus, broad beans and tomatoes

Ingredients to serve 6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This has to be cooked then served immediately, otherwise you will lose the vivid green colour. If you're making this for family, friends, or a dinner party, have the cannelloni beans cooked and ready, the pesto made and vegetables prepared. Then it's just a simple matter of cooking the vegetables and adding the pesto at the last minute.

To make the pesto, pick the basil leaves and place in a blender with the garlic, Parmesan and olive oil. Place the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and toast gently until golden. Add to the rest of the ingredients, whizz and season to taste.

Heat half the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the bacon, carrot and onion for one minute or until browned. Add the drained cannelloni beans, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme and garlic. Bring to the boil and cook on a gentle simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the beans are tender. Pick out the carrot, onion, bacon, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a second pan, add the green beans, asparagus, peas and broad beans, season and cook for two minutes. Pour in the cannelloni beans and stock, bring to the boil, add the spaghetti and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer for eight minutes. Finally, add two tablespoons of pesto. Check the seasoning, adding more if needed, and serve.

This recipe makes a lot more pesto than you need, but you can keep whatever you don't use in a plastic container in the freezer.

50ml olive oil
1 rasher streaky bacon
1/2 carrot
1/2 onion
100g dried cannelloni beans, soaked in water for 24 hours
1.3 litres chicken stock
1 bay leaf
A sprig of fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
80g green beans, cut into 1 cm pieces
4 asparagus spears, cut into 1 cm pieces
80g fresh peas
80g fresh broad beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g spaghetti, broken into short pieces
40g sun-dried tomatoes

For the pesto

2 bunches fresh basil
1 garlic clove
30g Parmesan, grated
100 ml olive oil
30g pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

From 'Simple to Sensational' (Simon & Schuster £20) by Jun Tanaka, executive chef at Pearl Restaurant & Bar

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