Courgette Soup with Watercress and Pecorino Pesto

This light summer soup is perfect for late summer when courgettes are cheap and plentiful. Serve each bowl with a spoonful of the watercress and Pecorino pesto zigzagged over the surface of the soup.

Serves 4-6

This recipe first appeared in The Delia Collection: Soup.

Courgette Soup with Watercress and Pecorino Pesto
 1 lb (450 g) courgettes, diced with their skins left on
 2 oz (50 g) butter
 4 oz (110 g) potatoes, peeled and diced
 1 large onion, chopped
 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
 1½ pints (850 ml) chicken or vegetable stock
 5 fl oz (150 ml) single cream
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the pesto:
 2 oz (50 g) watercress
 1 small clove garlic, crushed
 1 tablespoon pine nuts
 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 1 oz (25 g) Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, grated


Begin by melting the butter gently in a large saucepan, add the potatoes, courgettes, onion and garlic and stir everything around so the vegetables are glossy and covered in butter.

Add a little salt and freshly milled black pepper, then partially cover the pan and leave the vegetables to sweat, to release the buttery juices, on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Now add the stock, bring the soup back to simmering point and cook very gently for a further 7-10 minutes, again partially covered, or until the potatoes are soft and the courgettes are just tender.

While the soup is simmering, make the pesto. All you do is put the watercress (stalks and all), garlic, pine nuts and olive oil, together with some salt, in a food processor or blender and whiz until you have a smooth purée. Then transfer the purée to a bowl and stir in the grated Pecorino (or Parmesan) cheese. 

When the soup is ready, cool it a little, then purée it in a blender until smooth – you will probably need to do this in two batches, so have a large bowl nearby to pour the first batch into. 

Next, put the whole lot back in the saucepan, stir in the cream, then gently re-heat the soup.

Ladle it into bowls, top each one with a spoonful of the pesto and, using a skewer or the tip of a small knife, zigzag the pesto all over the surface of the soup.


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