Minestrone, literally big soup, is always good to prepare when we needs some comfort food. This minestrone recipe with fresh pesto is a great single dish and can be served warm or chilled. Pasta or rice (or a slice of whole grain bread) and some grated Parmesan cheese added to a bowl of minestrone, will make a tasty and highly nutritious meal.
Normally, the ingredients for fresh Italian pesto include also pine nuts but. Thinking in terms of simple, fast, nevertheless delicious, and just for this specific recipe, I made it without. My apologies to all the purist fellow Italians!
Ingredients and Instructions (serves 4):
1 cup/225 grams of small size pasta
4 ounces/110 grams of spinach
4 ounces/110 grams of Swiss chard
4 ounces/110 grams of zucchini
4 ounces/110 grams cabbage
4 ounces/110 grams of cooked pinto beans
8 ounces/225 grams fresh peas
2 medium potatoes
1 cup of canned tomatoes, drained and chopped.
1 stick of celery
1 big carrot
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
20 leaves of fresh basil
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1. Prepare the minestrone: start by making a mix of chopped onion, garlic, parsley and celery.
2. Saute over low heat in a pan with the 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, until the onion becomes golden; set aside.
3. Clean, wash, slice and cut all the vegetables in small-medium pieces. Peel the potatoes, but do not cut them.
4. Put the all veggie, the sauté mix and the peas in a big pot with abundant water; add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of salt, bring to a boil and let cook over medium heat for about 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, when the potatoes are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon, drain, and mash with a fork then put them back in the pot.
6. After one hour, add the beans and cook for 15 more minutes. Finally, add the pasta and cook until done.
7. Prepare the pesto: in a food processor, place basil, garlic, salt and oil; pulse a few times, then process until the mix is creamy and smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and incorporate the grate Parmesan cheese.
8. When the minestrone is ready, stir in the fresh pesto. Transfer the soup in a tureen and bring to the table with some extra Parmigiano cheese.
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