Well, last weekend I was definitely “burning the candle at both ends”, as my father likes to put it. Whether it was the countless glasses of wine and gin fizz, the lack of sleep due to early morning bacon-filled breakfasts, or the late night karaoke at my cousin’s wedding – I managed to return back to San Francisco with a nasty cold. The only thing I want to consume when I’m sick is orange juice spritzers and soup. But with the warm summer weather, it’s hard to imagine enjoying a big bowl of soup. Fortunately, this gave me the perfect opportunity to concoct a summer soup that I have been eyeing from Bon Appetit!
Green Minestrone (serves 2-4)
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
- 1/2 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 small carrots, peeled
- 1 cup fresh shelled fava beans (about 1 lb pods)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fregula or Israeli couscous
- 1/4 cup arugula-mint pesto
- 2 small pearl onions, thinly sliced
- shaved Parmesan (for serving)
Arugula Mint Pesto (makes about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 TB pine nuts
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 3 cups pre-washed arugula
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil, or more to taste
- salt and pepper
Start with the fava beans because they take about 20 minutes to prepare. Begin by boiling a medium pot of water. Meanwhile, slice each pod down the seam and remove the beans. Once the water is boiling, add the beans and cook for exactly one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Once cooled, shell the beans and dry them off with a paper towel. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large pot, heat olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add leek, fennel, onion and celery and sauté until softened – about five minutes. Add the chicken broth and increase heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Set another small pot of water on the oven to boil. Once boiling, add fregula and cook until al dente – about 10 minutes.
Use a peeler to slice thin strips of the carrot into the same bowl as the fava beans. The recipe suggests using a mandoline to slice length-wise, but that seemed awkward and potentially dangerous to me so I thought the peeler would make a fine substitute.
Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. In a food processor fit with a steel blade, process garlic cloves first. Then add pine nuts and pecans and process to combine. Add arugula, mint and basil and process to combine, scraping down the sides as needed. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow, steady drip. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adjusting if needed. Transfer to a small sealed container, reserving 1/4 cup for soup. Freeze the rest to use at a later date, over pasta or on a caprese salad!
Add the fava beans and carrots to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for five minutes, then add fregula to the pot. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve in large shallow bowls and top with a spoonful of pesto, slices of pearl onions, and a bit of shaved Parmesan. The recipe calls for a simple mix of parsley and shallots for the pesto, but I found that the combination of arugula and mint really added an extra level of flavor to the soup, elevating it to a truly green summery soup.
This hit the spot for my cold, and it didn’t feel too heavy or overly-hot. In fact, Annie P. had a small cup and said, “it tastes really healthy!” This will definitely be a go-to for me for those spring and summer months when the “party hardy cold” gets me down.