The comeback meal

I know you’re all waiting with bated breath to hear what happened to my vegetable broth. Being the lazy cook that I am, I let the broth sit out on the stove overnight. In the morning I packed it up into the fridge, still wondering what to do with it that night. I spent a few minutes before leaving work looking for a good recipe, including a few which included pesto on top of a soup.

This summer I had purchased a basil plant at the farmer’s market, which has been growing like crazy. The rate at which it’s growing is such that I have a hard time making enough items with it to let me feel productive. [I know that the answer here is to just make and freeze some pesto, but it’s been nice to see the plant blooming so well.] One of the recipes that came to mind was ThePPK’s pesto soup with gnocchi, beans, and greens – something I have been eyeballing for a while but hesitant to try. What I ended up making a vegetable soup with beans and a dollop of pesto was like a starter to this soup. As soon as I either make some gnocchi or find some vegan ones, this will be at the top of my list.

The PPK - Pesto Soup with Gnocchi, Beans & Greens

Photograph: The PPK’s – Pesto Soup with Gnocchi, Beans & Greens

The thought was that this way I’d be able to “get rid of” (read: consumer a delicious amount) of two big items in our kitchen: basil and vegetable broth. I got to work quickly: chopping up a semi-limp leek (it looks as sad as it sounds), sauteed it briefly, and then dumped all of the vegetable broth (with vegetables in it!) into the pot. I let that come back up to a boil, started to season it with some Herbamare and some more salt, added two bay leaves, and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Then came the fun part – I added most of a can of cannellini beans (I’ll explain the most part shortly), some gluten-free noodles, and some vegan Italian sausage. The instructions on the noodles said to cook for 14 minutes, so about half-way through I added two leaves of chopped up chard. While all of that was cooking, I gathered two handfuls of basil leaves, two garlic cloves, added a wee bit of leftover cheese that we had, some olive oil, and a few spoonfuls of those cannellini beans all into the Magic Bullet. Laugh all you want, but this mini-blender is an amazing tool to have. No, it doesn’t necessarily blend everything great, as I noticed last night when there was a bit of garlic that was still quite large, but it works for pesto. Usually.

Once the noodles were al dente, I took the pot off the flame and served us each a large bowl which I topped off with a heaping spoonful of pesto. The little bit of cheese in the pesto melted nicely into the soup – and I think that using the Daiya cheese I had in the fridge would have been just as nice, or even topping it with some vegan Parmesan instead would have worked as well. The pesto added a flavor of garlic and freshness, to a soup that was otherwise fairly plain. Without it, I might have been missing that consomme from Dovetail – a flavor that I am still yearning for.

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About Ania K

Writing, cooking, and eating in Brooklyn.
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7 Responses to The comeback meal

  1. This sounds Amazing! I may have to try it. I say “may” because I may be a lazier cook. ‘May’be I should work on that because It’s freezing here and I would love some soup. thanks!

    • ania says:

      It’s definitely worth it! It wasn’t a hard thing to make – just a little bit of coordinating to make sure that the beans and greens were cooked/heated enough along with the pasta and then having the pesto ready.

      • This has Burnt greens written all over it! If I were an Avenger my super power would be the ability to burn food at 30 paces. Would you happen to have a your pesto recipe at hand? If not, no worries.

      • ania says:

        I usually eyeball it, but will make a point of writing it down next time. Here is the approximate of what I do:
        2c tightly packed basil leaves
        1-2 garlic cloves (depends on how garlicky you like it)
        1/2c either walnuts, pine nuts, or in this case I used some of the cannellini beans
        1/2tsp salt
        1/4c olive oil
        All of this you can sort of fudge a bit — just start with a lot of basil (or even kale!), add some nuts or beans, some olive oil, and season to taste. For the soup I essentially used 1/4c cheese and made a lot less of the regular pesto recipe.

      • This sounds great and looks easy. But (theres always a but…) when you say 2c of basil tightly packed do you mean me shoving it into the cup with my man hands so i can get in as much as possible? Sadly, I’m not even trying to be funny here. I once made a peanut butter chip crust pie by melting peanut butter chips into a crust shape. bad idea… I would have had more luck cutting through the hoover dam with a cat.
        thank you!

      • ania says:

        hahaha — not a problem! I’d say try this: grab two fistfuls of basil and proceed with the recipe. If it’s a bit watery or not basily enough, add either more nuts/beans or basil/greens. You can’t go wrong! Also, that peanut butter chip crust sounds.. like an adventure! Reminds me of the time that I frosted a chocolate cake by melting chocolate chips and then pouring it over a cake. It made for an impenetrable outer layer.

  2. sowninpeace says:

    Hay i did the chip thing too! except mine was in cookie form it for some reason ….tooo much muti tasking i take it…i completly forgot the flour in one batch of peanut choco chip cookies …its a thick batter anyway so it didnt dawn on me …and made peanut chocoalte lace cookies…they were really cool ….until you had to take them off the parchment…I love gnocci and will have to try this one out for sure!

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