A stupendous soup
Earthy, restorative, and flavorful. It is rich with vegetables and a tomatoey broth; the carrots are sweet with a hint of bite– the leeks are sweet, but melting; the celery mild with a whisper of its intriguing bitterness. I love this soup!
My pesto, I must say, also came out well. So very well. Enough patting myself on the back, however!
For the soup:
Chop up: a lovely little bunch of carrots, cleaned and trimmed; a small bunch of leeks, thoroughly cleaned; some hearty winter greens, such as kale or chard (I used leftover beet greens), also cleaned well and dried; two medium-sized waxy yellow potatoes, scrubbed; a shallot, a clove of garlic or two, and five clean stalks of celery, trimmed.
Drain a can of cannellini beans, and rinse them if necessary. Open a 28 oz. can of whole, peeled, plum tomatoes, and set aside. Also have ready: a quart of good vegetable or chicken stock, some good olive oil, and some very good red wine vinegar.
Get out a giant soup pot. Warm about 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil in said soup pot.
Throw in all of the veggies –with a pinch of kosher salt– except the tomatoes and greens. Cook, stirring every so often, until everything begins to soften. Add the greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until they wilt. Stir in the stock. Add the tomato juices from the can, and then add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands. Fill the empty can with clean, cool water, and also add this. You want the broth to cover the veggies by about an inch. Add more water if necessary.
Now, stir in the beans. Give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil; then, lower the heat simmer for about 40 minutes. When the broth is full-flavored, the vegetables tender, and the soup has thickened nicely, it is ready.
Now, season it well with kosher salt, fresh black pepper, and a glug of your really good vinegar. Check it. It should be delicious.
I topped this with a hearty spoonful of parsley and arugula pesto, and it tasted magical.
The pesto is also quite easy. So, get out your kitchen scale and either a mortar & pestle, food processor, or immersion blender. You’ll want 1 large clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, 25 grams pine nuts, 75 grams of parsley + arugula, 25 grams of freshly grated parmesan, a lovely, fruity extra virgin olive oil, and some lemon.
Chop up the greens & herbs as finely as possible, repeatedly rolling and mincing. Grate the parmesan and peel the garlic.
Smash together the pine nuts and garlic into a paste with your tool of choice. Combine the latter with the greens and mash this together. Stir in the parmesan.
Pour over the olive oil until a sauce forms. Be generous, and add oil until the consistency pleases you. Stir occasionally. Stir in some salt, if necessary. Squeeze in some lemon juice, until it tastes fresh and balanced.