Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Minestrone Soup with Pesto

I have been slowly transitioning into fall by cooking more soups and stews. I was still able to pickup some fresh zucchini at my farmers market. However this soup is still delicious using frozen green beans in place of the zucchini. I followed a suggestion from Panera and made fresh croutons to float on top of the soup. To make the croutons, remove the crust from 6 slices bread of your choice and cut into ½ inch cubes. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch sauté pan until melted. Add cubes to pan and season with 1 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir the cubes to evenly coat with melted butter and cook until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove croutons from the pan and serve with the soup. Store any leftover croutons in an airtight container.

Minestrone Soup with Pesto
recipe courtesy of Panera Bread

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup peeled and chopped Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 ounces)
1 quart low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
15 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes with juice
15 ounce can small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup ditalini, small shells, or other very small shape pasta
1 cup finely chopped zucchini (optional)

⅓ cup Basil Pesto

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, 4 cups of broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Add additional broth if the soup is too thick.

Stir in the beans, pasta, and zucchini (if using), and simmer until pasta is tender, 8 to 9 minutes. Stir in the pesto.