RECIPE

Vegetable and Bean Soup with Pesto: Minestrone alla Genovese and Sandwiches with Arugula and Ham: Panini con Rucola e Prosciutto

This filling pesto minestrone soup combines perfectly with prosciutto panini for a simple yet tasty Italian meal that will warm you up on a chilly day.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces)
  • 1 can white beans or cannellini (15 ounces), drained
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup small, thin egg noodles for soup, any brand
  • 1 box frozen chopped green beans

Panini:

  • 4 crusty rolls or 8 slices crusty bread
  • 8 ounces robiola or ricotta cheese (1/2 pound)
  • 1 cup arugula leaves, loosely packed
  • 8 slices prosciutto di Parma

Pesto Genovese:

  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons pine nuts (pignoli)
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Preparation

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, about two turns of the pan. Add onion, potato and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes alone, stirring frequently, then add the chickpeas, white beans and the chicken stock. Cover the pot and bring the soup up to a boil.

Pre-heat a panini grill or a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Build four panini: spread roll or bread with a couple ounces of cheese, then top with a few leaves of arugula and two slices of prosciutto for each sandwich. Place panini in sandwich press or onto hot, heavy-bottomed pan. If using a pan, top with another heavy skillet or a brick wrapped in foil to press sandwiches. Press sandwiches until crisp on both sides, 2-3 minutes on each side.

When the soup is at a boil, remove the lid. Stir in the noodles and green beans and reduce heat to low. Simmer soup an additional 5-6 minutes, then remove it from the heat.

Combine basil, garlic, nuts and cheese in the food processor and turn it on. Stream in the EVOO and process until pesto is nearly smooth.

Scrape the pesto into a small bowl. Add a ladle of the soup broth to thin the pesto, then add the pesto to the soup. Stir to combine and serve soup immediately with panini, for dipping.

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Rachael Ray