Minestrone Soup with Pesto

Soup simmering

Soup simmering

This soup uses many of the veggies still available this time of year in the midwest. The pesto is what makes this soup. When it’s stirred in, the soup turns a fresh green color and you can see the lovely bits of basil and smell the wonderful aroma of garlic. I used pesto that I froze when I made the pesto for the creamy pesto pasta. If you don’t want to use pesto, you’ll need to add 3-4 chopped cloves of garlic to the onions and probably a tablespoon or so of dried basil when you add the broth. I also threw a piece of parmesan cheese rind into the soup to add a little more flavor. This is a great way to get just that last bit of parmesan cheese flavor out of that hunk of parmesan-reggiano cheese for which you paid a small fortune.

I prepped the veggies ahead of time on Saturday morning so all I had to do was put it together an hour before we ate. If the prepping is done the night before this is doable after getting home from work. Also check out Kitchen Basic Chicken Stock especially if you are trying to cut down on sodium in your diet. It is much more flavorful than canned chicken broth and has 100 mg less sodium than Swansons 33% less sodium chicken broth per serving. This is recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2004.

Prepped ingredients

Prepped ingredients

Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 cups Kitchen Basic Chicken Stock (or chicken broth)
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
2 tomatoes, peeled, crushed or 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 C. Ronzoni Smart Taste elbow macaroni
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
8 tablespoons Pesto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add stock and next six ingredients. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the macaroni; simmer 7 minutes. Stir in the spinach and simmer 3 more minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, top with a tablespoon of pesto, and some grated parmesan cheese. Serves 8 (BTW this soup is great as a leftover . . . the flavors really have a chance to develop.)

Soup with pesto & parmesan garnish

Soup with pesto & parmesan garnish

Soup with pesto stirred in

Soup with pesto stirred in


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