Vegetable Soup with Pesto
This soup is delicious with a dollop of the pesto stirred in, but would be just as good without it. Very light and chock full of veggies!
Adapted from Gourmet, May 2001.
1/4 lb sliced pancetta, chopped
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 small cabbage, cored and chopped (2 cups)
1 (2-inch) piece of rind cut from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
2 small yellow summer squash or zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium boiling potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
9 cups water
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (15- to 19-oz) can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
5 oz baby spinach (5 cups)
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz grated parmesan (1/3 cup)
In a large heavy pot, cook the pancetta in the oil until it just begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, turnip, carrots, and cabbage and cook until the cabbage is wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Add the cheese rind, zucchini, potato, thyme sprigs, bay leave, salt and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, then add the green beans and cannellini beans. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the cheese rind, thyme and bay leaf and discard; stir in the spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make pesto while soup is simmering:
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with salt, using either a fork or a mortar and pestle. Blend with basil in a food processor until basil is finely chopped. Add the oil and cheese and puree until smooth.
Top the bowls of soup with a spoonful of pesto, then stir in.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.