Google+ Organic Gardens Network™: Soupy Sunday: Minestrone with Pesto

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Soupy Sunday: Minestrone with Pesto

by CountryLiving

It's "Soupy Sunday!" We will be posting a new soup recipe on Sundays, a great day to prepare these luscious one-pot meals, and yielding left overs for the week's lunches.

This classic rich, thick Italian soup, is made with dried beans, bacon, potatoes, and—for a tasty new twist—easy homemade pesto. It's gorgeous. Enjoy!


  • 8 ounce(s) dried Great Northern beans, about 1 1/3 cups
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalk(s) celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 ounce(s) pancetta or bacon, sliced, diced
  • 1 pound(s) all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 medium (8 ounces each) zucchini, each cut lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium (1 pound) head savoy cabbage, sliced to equal 4 cups
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed with garlic press
  • 2 can(s) (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth, (or 3 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth)
  • 1 can(s) (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • Pesto, (see direction step 8 below), or 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  1. Rinse beans under cold water and discard any stones or shriveled beans. In large bowl, place beans and 6 cups water. Allow to stand at room temperature overnight. (Or, in 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat beans and 6 cups water to boiling; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.) Drain and rinse beans.
  2. In 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes to 1 hour until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans.
  3. While beans are cooking, in 5-quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and pancetta; cook 10 minutes or until onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until cabbage wilts.
  5. Add chicken broth, tomatoes with their juice, and 1 cup water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  6. In blender or food processor with knife blade attached, blend 1/2 cup beans with 1 cup soup until pureed. Stir salt, bean puree, and remaining beans into soup; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare Pesto. Serve soup with Pesto.
  8. PESTO: In blender at high speed, blend 2/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. 

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