Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto
Bulging with farmers’ market vegetables, this soup is a favorite to serve in the summer. The rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese adds complexity and depth to a soup made with water instead of stock.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 whole large leek or 2 smaller leeks, use all but tough green parts, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed and thinly
sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 stalk celery, diced
8 cups water, or more if needed
2 medium Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds*
3 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices, or 5 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, trimmed and diced (about 2 cups)
1 cup green beans, cut into short pieces
Kernels from 2 ears fresh corn (approximately 1 cup)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
4 ounces small-shaped pasta, such as ditalini, cooked
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup olive oil, or more if needed
A few pinches of salt
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Warm the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat; add the onion and sauté until golden and soft, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add leeks and sauté until soft, 3 to 4 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Add carrots, celery, water, Parmesan rinds and 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes before adding the tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, corn and beans, if using. Bring to a boil again and then simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
- To make the pesto, place the basil, parsley, garlic and olive oil and salt in a food processor. Process until fairly smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and process to incorporate.
- Adjust seasonings in soup, adding more salt if necessary. Add the cooked pasta. Ladle soup into bowls, add a dollop of approximately 1 tablespoon of pesto and serve immediately.