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Minestrone with Pasta and Pesto

A variety of vegetables can be used in minestrone. If you like, add 1 cup chopped celery or the same amount of chopped cauliflower instead of the rutabaga and cabbage.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 1 green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup conchigliette, ditalini or other small pasta
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce, homemade (see related recipe at left) or purchased
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Cook the vegetables
In a large pot over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, cabbage, tomatoes, carrot and rutabaga. Season with the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Raise the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Finish the soup
Stir in the chickpeas and zucchini and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and add the pasta. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and stir a tablespoonful of the pesto into each serving. Top with the cheese and serve. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).