I’m not usually one for making soups in the summer, but I have made an exception for this one! The addition of mint makes for a rather refreshing soup and the pea and zucchini, used when in their peak, make it deliciously sweet.
The vegetables are the star of the show here, so make sure you find the freshest zucchini and peas that you can get your hands on. I literally picked mine from the garden and had them cooked up and in the bowl within half and hour, but obviously, some lovely, locally grown veggies from a farmers’ market or the like would be just as delicious!
I used our homemade pancetta, which adds a lovely depth to the dish, but it could be excluded if you would prefer to make a vegetarian version.
I have varied the amount of water or stock to be added, depending on how thick you like your soup. Use the lesser quantity if you prefer a thicker soup.
Pea, Zucchini & Pancetta Summertime Soup
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
120g 1cm thick cut pancetta, chopped into 1cm-ish cubes
500g freshly shelled peas (about 1.3kg with shell)
1 large zucchini (approx. 400-500g)
1-1.25 litres water (or vegetable stock)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 sprigs of mint, leaves removed and finely sliced (about 2 tablespoons)
Crunchy read or toast, to serve (optional)
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy based saucepan. Add onion and sauté on a medium heat for a few minutes. Toss in 60g of the pancetta and fry together until both the onion and pancetta have coloured, about 5-10 minutes. Add the peas and zucchini and sauté for a few more minutes. Pour in the water, or stock if using, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 or so minutes until the zucchini is tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small frypan. Add the pancetta and fry until golden and crisp. Remove from pan and leave to cool on a plate lined with paper towel.
Once the soup is ready, remove from the heat and stir through the mint leaves.Blitz everything up using a hand held blender directly in the pot, or in batches using a food processor or blender.
Serve while lovely and hot topped with the crispy pancetta pieces and some crunchy bread on the side!