From my research, minestrone soup is basically the Italian whatever-is-in-season veggie soup with beans and sometimes pasta or rice tossed in. The good folks at Cooks Illustrated use a hunk of parmesan rind to deepen the flavor as well as some pesto. Pesto? I had never heard of including pesto in a soup before, but hey, it works. Now for that parmesan rind…not something I typically have in the fridge. I did happen to have a hunk of parmigiano-reggiano, so I used that. Could I tell the difference in flavor? Not really. But then again, I don’t have the most in-tune taste buds out there. Anyhow, this soup packs in healthy goodies and warms the tummy. That’s a winner in my book.
- 2 small leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced(about 3/4 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 small onions, peeled and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 medium stalks celery, trimmed and diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 3 cups stemmed spinach leaves
- 1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, packed in juice, drained and chopped
- 8 cups water
- 1 parmesan cheese rind, about 5×2 inches
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup pesto
- I also added about 1/2 cup corn leftover from another dish
- Bring all ingredients except beans and pesto to a boil in a large stockpot of Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but still hold their shape, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the cheese rind.
- Add the beans and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the pesto. Adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.