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Vegetable Soup with Pesto

January 24, 2008

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.
Vegetable Soup with Pesto

Ingredients

For soup:
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)

For pesto:
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)

Directions

Make soup:
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.

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