Friday, November 22, 2013

Minestrone Soup with Pesto Cheesy Bread

This is the perfect cold day comfort food for me - a bowl of hearty, healthy, warm soup with something cheesy and decadent to dip into it.  Love this combination!  The pesto is the perfect compliment to the rich tomato base of the soup.   It was a hit with the family too. 

If you've been following my weekly meal plans, then you would have seen that I'm starting to make a soup almost every week.  I love it!  Soup is not only amazing that night, but so good as leftovers for lunch or easy to freeze for future dates. 

So next time you are looking for a new soup recipe, give this one a try - with or without the bread! 

Happy Cooking!

Minestrone Soup with Pesto Cheesy Bread
my recipe based on some original ideas and the recipe found at
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bag baby spinach
1 potato, peeled, cubed
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with the juices
1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth (I used the broth leftover from the short rib recipe I already had herbs in it, so I skipped the rosemary too)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for serving

for the bread:
1 (6 inch) piece of french bread, cut in half length wise (I like to use the mini-loaves my grocery store sells, but you can double or triple the recipe if you want)
3 T pre-made pesto
1/3 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Add the olive oil, carrots, celery and onion and saute until translucent (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and stir just until it becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). 

Add the the beef stock, tomatoes and rosemary (optional).  Stir and allow the soup to come to a slow rolling boil over medium heat.
In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of water and puree until smooth.  This adds richness to the soup and thickens it up as well.  (set the remaining beans aside - we will add these later).

Add this to the soup and stir until well combined. 
Now add the potato and baby spinach.  Allow this to continue to simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. 

Lastly, add the beans and cook an additional 5 minutes, just until the beans are warmed through.

Serve immediately with some parmesan cheese on the side or keep it over low until you make the delicious cheesy bread...

For the bread...
preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spread the pesto evenly over both sides.

Sprinkle evenly with the cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown around the edges.

Serve immediately with the soup...a perfect dipper!  Enjoy!!!

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