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 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.