Monday, June 25, 2007

Minestrone Soup with Basil Pesto

This is a recipe from the book "The San Diego Restaurant Cookbook" which was compiled by Ingrid Croce (yes, Jim's widow)... it's such a great book - probably one of my favourites! This recipe is from the restaurant Arrivederci in the Hillcrest area.

The recipe will ser
ve 6

***This recipe could be made vegetarian if you use the vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. In addition, you could make it vegan by leaving out the pesto (or making pesto without the Parm - can you do that?) and the Parmesan cheese topping.***

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped

2 cups white wine
2 potatoes, diced (I used red potatoes and left the skins on. The original recipe said to peel them)
1 cup tubettini pasta (I didn't have that, so I just used some penne)
5 cups vegetable stock or water (you could use chicken stock, I used vegetable to keep this recipe vegetarian)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan as a garnish

Prepare pesto:
In a blender or food processor, combine the fresh basil, pine nuts, 2 cloves of garlic, the virgin olive oil, and Parm cheese. Process for 5 minutes.

Prepare the minestrone:

1. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Stir in onion, 2 cloves of garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add the white wine, potatoes, and pasta. Cook for 2 minutes more. Add the water or stock, and stir well. Add bay leaves, oregano, and dried basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Allow the soup to come to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pesto and stir very well for a few minutes. Garnish with grated Parmesan just before serving.

Croce, Ingrid (2005). The San Diego Restaurant Cookbook: Recipes from America's Finest City. Avalanche Records and Books: San Diego, CA.

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