Minestrone is the name for a thick variety of Italian soup that contains seasonal vegetables and also sometimes contains pasta or rice.Common ingredients to this soup include onions, tomatoes, celery, carrot and beans. This soup has always been a favorite of mine, both while eating out at Italian restaurants and also when I am in the mood for hearty Italian soups at home.
In all the time that I have had this soup I have never had a variation of this soup with pesto in it. So I was intrigued when I saw this variation mentioned in a cookbook. I did not waste any time in trying this variation and adapted the recipe to work with the ingredients I had on hand and to suit our taste. I thought the addition of pesto took this soup to another level and I thoroughly enjoyed this soup along with savory oat muffins. Try this minestrone when you are looking for something simple and hearty yet with an unusual touch to it.
Ingredients and Method to make Minestrone soup with pesto
1 cup white beans (cannelini or northern beans) to be soaked for 8 hours
1 large onion cut fine
1/2 cup carrots cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup frozen peas
4 stalks of celery cut into small pieces (yielded about 1 heaped cup of cut celery)
2 large tomatoes cut into small pieces (yielded about 2 cups of cut tomatoes)
2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into half inch pieces (yielded about 2 cups of cut potatoes)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 tbsp pesto sauce
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
Soak white beans in sufficient water for 8 hours with a pinch of baking soda (adding soda is optional)
When the beans have soaked for 8 hours, rinse them thoroughly and place them in a large heavy bottomed pan with sufficient water and let it cook until soft.
(when the water initially boils, there may be some heavy froth on top,you can skim and remove this froth and let the beans boil in clear water)
When the beans are cooked remove and keep aside.
In the same pan, heat olive oil and add cut onions to it and saute until transparent.
Add tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes become soft and mushy
Add all the vegetables and saute for a minute.
Add water (about 4 cups) and all the herbs and spices (except the pesto sauce) and let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
When the vegetables are cooked, add cooked white beans and pesto sauce and adjust water to get required consistency and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with any rustic bread or savory muffins to make a complete meal
Serves about 3 to 4