Summer Minestrone al Pesto

Summer Minestrone al Pesto

Some vegetable soups are complex and long-simmered. This light, brothy one brims with full-flavored summer vegetables for a minestrone that comes together in a half an hour or so. If you don't have a vegetable garden, look to the farmers' market for the freshest, sweetest produce. For a warm-weather lunch or supper, the simplicity of this soup is very appealing.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Set a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to color, 5 or 6 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Add garlic, bay leaf, tomato paste and red pepper. Cook, stirring, for another minute, then add wine, if using, and tomatoes, and bring to a brisk simmer.
  3. Step 3

    Add 8 cups water and a good pinch of salt and let mixture return to a brisk simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then taste for seasoning. The broth should be well seasoned before the vegetables go in.
  4. Step 4

    Make the pesto: As the broth simmers, pound the garlic and salt to a paste in a large mortar. Beginning with a few basil leaves at a time, pound basil to a paste, then add parsley leaves and a little salt. Continue to pound until all the basil and parsley have been pounded into a coarse green paste. (Alternatively, many people may wish to make the pesto in a food processor.)
  5. Step 5

    Transfer to a serving bowl and whisk in olive oil and Parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set pesto aside covered with a thin layer of oil or with plastic film pressed against its surface to prevent oxidation.
  6. Step 6

    Add the zucchini, romano beans and pasta to the simmering broth and cook 7 to 8 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Add green beans and cook for a minute or 2.
  7. Step 7

    Ladle soup into bowls, topping each with a dollop of pesto. Pass more grated Parmesan at the table.