Endless Summer Minestrone
You can make this soup all year long, but it works particularly well with spring and summer veggies.
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 cup orzo
- 2 small or 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 pound green beans, cut into thirds (a generous handful)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of generous handfuls)
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup tarragon leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 2 teaspoons grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
- Crusty bread, for passing at the table
In a deep skillet or soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and toast for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, tomatoes and green beans; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are softened, 8-10 minutes. Add the wine and boil for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the scallions and cook until the orzo is al dente, about 3 minutes.
While the soup is working, in a food processor, puree the basil, cheese, parsley, tarragon, pine nuts, garlic, lemon peel and lemon juice. Scrape down the sides and then, with the processor on, pour in the remaining 1/3 cup EVOO. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.
Divide the soup among four bowls and stir in some pesto. Serve with the bread.