The Accidental ‘Creamy’ Minestrone Soup with Pesto

I know, Minestrone soup sounds out of place now in Melbourne’s summer heat but we had leftover veggies in the fridge including the brunoise carrots and onions from chicken salad night and we harvested green beans from our garden for the second time. Wooohooo!  Hearty and full of goodness from the vegetables, this is on my list of slow comfort food. Although my sisters would beg to differ as they are not fans of stews. Hehe. I didn’t intend on making this soup thick but I left it to cook for too long hence the starch from the potatoes and cannellini beans thickened the soup. And when the homemade pesto was stirred through, it compounded the creaminess. Whilst I lamented over not getting a clear broth, J liked it a lot. I actually scowled at the contents in the pot before I tasted it and it was actually quite good!    

I’ve thrown in lots of goodies in this soup/stew: zucchini or courgette, chiffonade savoy cabbage, cannellini beans, potatoes, green beans, roma tomatoes, leek,  litte shaped soup pastas, pearl barley, all cooked in a vegetable stock. For the soup base, I prepared the mire poix, the french equivalent of soffritto in Italian cooking, of chopped onions, carrots and celery and made a bouquet garni (‘garnished bouquet’ in french) of parsley, tarragon, one celery stalk, a clove of garlic and peppercorns encased in three of the outer leaves of the leek, tied together with a kitchen string.  It is left to simmer in the soup for flavouring. Since I like it fairly tomatoey if the word exists, I added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I was incredibly tempted to add bacon or pancetta BUT I resisted. I wanted to make a pure vegetarian but knock-your-socks-off soup. It was hard, the smoky rash of bacon and pancetta were calling out to me but I refrained from walking passed the deli section. For the pesto, I substituted pinenuts with almonds (leftovers in the pantry) and whizzed them with basil leaves, a clove of garlic, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese, and it was  just stirred through the soup when cooked.   

I did write down some recipe adjustments with the ingredients but since soup became stew, I’ll have to adjust the cooking time for the stove top. Well, I missed the part that says, cook in SLOW COOKER. DOH! So gluggy potatoes? Entirely my fault….
Oh what the heck, it went down well. All that was missing was a cold wintry day and a warm fireplace to complete the picture: minestrone is indeed good for the soul…”slurp”~~ahhhhhh…

Below: The Tomato Series: Cored, slit and plunged in boiling water for 10 -15 seconds, then dunked in cold water, peels beautifully.

Left to right: Bouquet Garni,  half of the green bean harvest from the garden and mini soup pasta

Bon Appétit 

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