A Provençal vegetable soup enriched with a heady pesto.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts water
1 potato diced
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup navy beans, soaked in water overnight and drained
3 cubes vegetable bouillon (optional)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
3 cups any combination of green vegetables in season (cut green beans,
zucchini cut in matchsticks, peas, spinach, etc.)
1/2 cup broken spaghetti (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 ounces tomato paste
1/3 cup parmesan plus 3 Tbsp romano, both grated, or 1/2 cup parmesan (omit romano)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup additional parmesan
1/4 cup additional parsley for garnish
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot and sauté the onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add water, potato, carrot, and navy beans and bring to a boil. Add the bouillon cubes (if used), soy sauce, and salt. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender and the stock aromatic.
Fifteen minutes before serving, add the spaghetti. When it is tender, add the green vegetables. Wait a minute or two, then stir in the pesto; continue to stir until it is dissolved. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan and chopped parsley.
To prepare the pesto, you will need a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor. Blend the basil, garlic, parsley, cheese, and tomato paste. Dribble in the olive oil and continue to blend until the mixture is homogenous.