Here’s a vegetable soup that’s full of spring veggies, and as quick to make as a spring is to get sprung. There’s so much room for interpretation here. You can leave out all the cheese if you like. You can go for handfuls of quartered baby Tokyo turnips, baby carrots sliced lengthwise with a bit of their tops on, or teeny-tiny marble potatoes, steamed and sliced. Parboiling each vegetable separately (or roasting, even, if you like) ensures that each one tastes clean, sweet, and crisp. We like the ruffly Creste di Gallo in this one. It’s so lovely to scoop them up in a spoon, with a bean or two. Using canned beans makes this quicker, but of course, making your own and using some of the liquor for the broth would be excellent, especially if you decide to convert this into a late summer minestrone, with fresh shelling beans, roasted cubes of zucchini and eggplant, and crunchy kernels of corn.
Minestrone Soup of Spring Vegetables, Pistachio Pesto and Whole Wheat Pasta
Lightly adapted from Bon Appetit.
- 2 tablespoons raw pistachios
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 cup (packed) basil leaves
- 1 cup (packed) parsley leaves with tender stems
- ⅔ cup olive oil, divided
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
For the soffrito:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock, water, or bean broth
- a handful each of at least 2 of the following: sugar snap peas, trimmed; cauliflower florets; fresh or frozen peas; quarter-sized potatoes; halved Tokyo turnips; asparagus tips
- ½ bunch small Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn
- 1 14.5-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups of Community Grains Whole Wheat Creste di Gallo Pasta, or other short shape
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- Thinly shaved Parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, and/or olive oil (for serving)
- Make the soffritto: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook onions, leeks, and celery, stirring often, until soft but not browned, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt. (Note: Soffritto can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. It can also be frozen up to 1 month.)
- Make the pesto: Toast pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool; crush using a small saucepan (you want a mix of sizes).
- Pulse garlic, basil, parsley, and ⅓ cup oil in a food processor until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix with Parmesan, lemon zest, crushed nuts, and remaining ⅓ cup oil; season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium saucepan, bring a pot of water to a boil and add a few teaspoons of salt, until the water is as salty as the sea. Dip in your first chosen vegetable, and fish them out with a slotted spoon when it is tender. Then cook your other chosen vegetable and do the same. Leave to cool, or shock under cool water. With the water still boiling, cook your pasta according to the package directions, or until just al dente or just a touch firmer. All of these will cook a bit in the soup, so leaving your veggies a touch on the crisp side will help keep them fresh.
- Make the soup: Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Cook rosemary and ½ cup soffritto, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Reserve remaining soffrito for another use.) Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the beans. Add the kale, the cooked vegetables, and the pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
- Serve soup, and have your guests top their own bowls with pesto, red pepper flakes, Parmesan, and olive oil.