Last night I tried a recipe from America Public Media’s "Splendid Table."
Winter Vegetable Soup with Walnut Pesto
(Adapted from The Splendid Table’s Weeknight Kitchen from November 7: Cold Weather Soupe au Pistou)
¾ cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup curly parsley, lightly chopped
1/3 cup (3 oz) extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/8 cup (or about 1 oz more)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino-Romano)
Salt and pepper
4 overflowing Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (plus enough for a drizzle more)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, scooped of seeds, and cut into small cubes
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 medium potato, cut into small cubes
salt and pepper
8 cups chicken broth (or 8 cups water, salt, and 2 tsp sodium-free granulated chicken bouillon*)
14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Cut up all of your vegetables. Put the carrots and onions in one small bowl. Put the rest of the vegetables in another bowl. Set aside.
Make the pesto. Put the nuts, garlic, and parsley in a mini chopper (food processor) with the 1/3 cup olive oil. Pulse until blended. Stir in the remaining olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste. Set aside.
Back to the soup… heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and carrots. Season and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the other vegetables, drizzle in just a little more olive oil, season, and sauté about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth (or water and bouillon). Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer soup 10-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Ass cannellini beans and heat through.
Serve soup topped with a spoonful of pesto and bread. (Pumpernickel bread is especially good with this soup.) Enjoy!
*Most chefs I’ve read or heard have said that if you don’t have homemade stock or broth, they would suggest using water rather than store-bought broth. The reason for this is that store-bought broth/stock has huge quantities of sodium, and can make it difficult to season your own food. I don’t keep homemade stock. I like to idea of being in control of my seasoning, so water and adding my own salt makes sense. However, I like to get some of the chicken flavor that broth imparts. Thus, my substitute has become water and some of a sodium-free granulated chicken bouillon made by Herb-Ox, plus salt to my liking. Sometimes I use the 1 tsp bouillon to 1 cup boiling water. Other times, as is the case here, I use less for a more subtle effect.