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Springtime Veggie Minestrone

Springtime Veggie Minestrone


For the Beans

  • 1 pound dry cannellini beans

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 onion, unpeeled

  • 1/4 cup salt

For the Pistou (Provencal-style pesto to stir into soup):

  • 1 cup basil

  • 1/4 cup tarragon

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1/3 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 leek, whites and light greens, chopped

  • 1 small bulb fennel, chopped

  • 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 small firm zucchini, chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 large fresh bay leaf

  • 2 cups cannellini beans

  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

  • 1 cup orecchiette pasta or other short cut pasta


In a Dutch oven, cover the dry beans with hot water and soak them for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans. Return the beans to the Dutch oven and add stock, 1 quart of water, bay leaves, onion and salt and bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, reduce to a gentle boil and cook until tender and all the liquid is cooked out, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and onion, and reserve. 

For the pistou, place basil, tarragon, lemon juice and parm in food processor. Process into a sauce while streaming in EVOO. Season with salt to taste. 

Heat a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat with olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add veggies and garlic as you chop them, stirring to coat with oil. Season with salt, pepper and bay, partially cover and sweat vegetables to tender 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved beans and the stock, bring to low rolling boil then add pasta and cook 8 minutes to al dente. Serve in shallow bowls with some of the pistou stirred in to finish.