Minestrone with Pesto: Minestrone con Pesto
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, preferably "picolo fino"
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 5 ounces Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups borlotti (or pinto) beans
- 1 1/2 cups cannelloni (or white) beans
- 1 medium red onion, cut into medium dice
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch moons, 1/2-inch thick
- 4 plum canned plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch moons
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces small shells pasta
- 1/2 cup pesto
To make the pesto: In a large stone mortar, place the pine nuts, basil, garlic, and salt, and grind with a pestle until paste. Drizzle in the olive oil, beating with a wooden spoon. This can also be done in a food processor. Store in jars, topped with extra-virgin olive oil, for up to 1 week.
To make the minestrone:
Soak the borlotti and Cannelloni beans separately overnight and drain.
In a large soup pot, place both kinds of beans, the onion, zucchini, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, leeks, and olive oil, and cover by 1-inch with cool water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the beans are tender about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Add the pasta, and turn the heat to high. Cook the pasta at a boil until al dente. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and top each bowl of minestrone with a dollop of pesto floating on top.