SPRING can still mean soup for supper, just a little lighter and fresher. Adjust the amounts of cream and parmesan to make this clean-tasting soup as rich as you like. Serves four.
1kg courgettes, cut into random-shaped 2cm pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups (500ml) chicken or vegetable stock
A handful of basil leaves, chopped
A handful of parsley leaves, chopped, plus extra, to serve
125g parmesan, grated
Pour a good splash of oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan and add the courgettes and garlic. Immediately turn the heat down to a simmer, stir well, and then leave to cook slowly for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The courgettes should be slightly coloured and very soft. Season well with salt and pepper and pour over the stock. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat.
Transfer three-quarters of the mixture to a food processor (or use a hand blender) and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
Return the puree to the pan along with the remaining courgettes and stir in the cream and herbs.
Allow to cool or serve warm with lots of grated parmesan.