Monday, January 9, 2012

Minestrone With Pesto

Ingredients for the soup:
1 1/2 cups borlotti or pinto beans
1 1/2 cups cannelloni (or white) beans
1 medium red onion, cut into medium dice
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch moons, 1/2-inch thick
4 plum canned plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch moons
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 T extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces small shells pasta
1/2 cup pesto

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Ingredients for the pesto:
3 T pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves, preferably "picolo fino"
1 clove garlic
1 pinch of sea salt
5 ounces extra virgin olive oil

Preparing the pesto:
In a large stone mortar, place the pine nuts, basil, garlic, and salt, and grind with a pestle until paste. Drizzle in the olive oil, beating with a wooden spoon. This can also be done in a food processor. Store in jars, topped with extra virgin olive oil, for up to 1 week.

* * * * * *

Preparing the minestrone:
Soak the borlotti and cannelloni beans separately overnight and drain.

In a large soup pot, place both kinds of beans, the onion, zucchini, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, leeks, and olive oil, and cover by 1-inch with cool water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the beans are tender about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add the pasta, and turn the heat to high. Cook the pasta at a boil until al dente. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and top each bowl of minestrone with a dollop of pesto floating on top.

Serves 4


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