Tomato Minestrone with Buttery Pine Nut Breadcrumbs
The buttery pine nut topping on this soup will turn this autumn classic into a favorite comfort soup.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3-4 small ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces), drained
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
- 2 cups water
- 1 can tomato puree (28 ounces)
- 1 cup mini penne rigate or mini rigatoni or ditalini
- 1-2 basil leaves, torn
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 loaf crusty or stale bread
- 1 jar pine nuts (3 ounces or 1/3 cup)
- 1/4 grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more to pass at the table
Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F.
Heat a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, two turns of the pan. Add the onion, garlic, green beans, carrots, celery, bay leaf and chickpeas and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables for 7-8 minutes to soften, then add in the stock, water and tomato puree. Bring the soup to a boil, add the penne and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot over low heat. Pulse the bread and pine nuts together in a food processor. Turn the breadcrumbs out onto a cookie sheet and toss with the butter and cheese. Toast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until light golden in color.
Top the soup with the breadcrumbs and serve.