Dorie Greenspan’s Provencal Vegetable Soup

Dorie Greenspan’s Provencal Vegetable Soup
MAKES ABOUT 6 SERVINGS

SERVING
You can add the pesto to the soup in the pot, or you can ladle the soup into bowls and add a big spoonful to each serving. Either way, top each bowl with a few drops of olive oil and scatter over the fresh basil leaves. You can add some Parmesan or pass it at the table.

STORING
The soup can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but after you reheat it, the pasta will be pretty mushy. If the soup thickens too much in the fridge, as it probably will, thin it with a little water or broth.

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* 4 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and finely chopped
* Salt and freshly ground white pepper
* 6 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
* 3 parsley sprigs
* 2 thyme sprigs
* 1 rosemary sprig
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 slender carrots, trimmed, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
* 1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1/3 cup small pasta (elbow, fusilli, or mini penne)
* 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
* 1 cup rinsed canned chickpeas or cannellini beans (or 1/2 cup dried beans; see above)
* 1 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into
* 1/2-inch half-moons
* 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes, or a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into cubes (no need to peel or seed)
* 1 ear fresh corn, husked and kernels sliced off

* Basil Pesto, to finish
* Extra-virgin olive oil, to finish
* 12 fresh basil leaves, torn or cut into shreds
Grated or shaved Parmesan, for serving

Pour the olive oil into a large casserole–a stockpot or a Dutch oven that holds at least 5 quarts–and warm it over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, season fairly generously with salt (about 1/4 teaspoon), and white pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon), lower the heat, and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the broth or water and herbs and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the carrots and potato and cook for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the beans (green and canned) and zucchini and cook for 10 minutes more. (This is not a soup in which any of the vegetables should be crunchy.) Finally, add the tomatoes and corn kernels and cook for 3 minutes.

Finish the soup with some pesto, drizzle with a little olive oil, and scatter the basil over the top. Top with Parmesan, or pass the cheese at the table.

Copyright © 2010 by Dorie Greenspan and Alan Richardson. Reprinted from Around My French Table with permission from Houghton Mifflin.

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