Minestrone is a great way to use up leftover vegetables and combine them into a tasty soup. Traditionally, minestrone is made with a tomato sauce base, but here we have decided to use a pesto sauce instead. Browning the vegetables and simmering the soup for a fairly long time allows us to draw out much more flavor from the vegetables, producing a richly flavored, savory soup. The vegetables listed are just a suggestion, so feel free to substitute with whatever vegetables and beans you have on hand. This recipe serves 6.
For the soup:
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 3 stalks of celery
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 leek
- 2 small potatoes
- 1 zucchini
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 14 oz. can Cannellini Beans (400g)
- 100g pasta (I used spelt spaghetti)
For the Pesto:
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup basil
- 2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds (or substitute with other roasted nuts or seeds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- First, peel and dice the onions, carrots, and celery and add them to a dutch oven along with the olive oil. Brown the vegetables over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning.
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic and add to the dutch oven once the vegetables are browned. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds and then pour the white wine into the pot to deglaze.
- Turn heat to low, and while the vegetable and wine mixture simmers, cube the potatoes and zucchini, and thinly slice the leek. Then add these to the pot along with salt and pepper. Stir the mixture to combine.
- Next, add the vegetable broth to the dutch oven and cover. Leave on low heat to simmer for an hour.
- While the soup is simmering, you can prepare the pesto. The pesto comes together very quickly and can be made using a mortar and pestle, a food processor, or even an immersion blender. First, roughly chop the garlic and either process or crush it along with the basil, sunflower seeds, and salt. If you’re using a food processor or blender you can go ahead and add the olive oil at the same time, but if you’re going the manual route with a mortar and pestle, wait to add the olive oil until you’ve ground down the other ingredients into a relatively fine paste.
- Once the soup has finished simmering, add in the drained Cannellini beans and the pasta of your choice. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer while the pasta finishes cooking.
- Finally, turn off the stove and stir the pesto into the Minestrone. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.