Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

This soup has a few components that can be tackled separately and in advance: the soffrito¬† works as the base and you’ll have quite a bit leftover that you can then freeze and use for soups in the future. As for the pesto, I didn’t have pistachios as the original recipe called for so I used hazelnuts instead. Like most pesto recipes, I treat it as a formula more than anything so use any nuts and greens you like here; it’ll turn out great.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

For Soffrito

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
kosher salt

For Pesto

2 tablespoons raw hazelnuts (or any nut you'd like)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 cup packed parsley leaves (with their stems is fine)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely grated grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
kosher salt, freshly-ground black pepper

For Soup / Assembly:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 small bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
1 14.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 small zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/4 cups)
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
Thinly shaved Parmesan, to top
red pepper flakes, for serving
crusty bread, for serving

Instructions

To make the soffrito: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook onions, leeks and celery, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 6-8 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

To make the pesto: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Let cool; crush using a small sauce pan (you want a mix of sizes).

Pulse garlic, basil, parsley and 1/3 cup oil in a food processor until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix with Parmesan, lemon zest, crushed nuts, and remaining 1/3 cup oil; season with salt and pepper.

Soup and assembly: Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Add the thyme and zucchini and cook until tender, about 6 -7 minutes. Add bay leaf and 1 cup soffrito and cook down until fragrant, about 2 minutes (Reserve remaining soffrito for another use; see note below).

Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add peas, kale, beans and cook until kale is wilted and peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Serve soup, topped with pesto, Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

Note on Soffrito: The base can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool, cover and refrigerate (or freeze for up to 1 month).