Summer vegetable soup with basil pesto croutons
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• 1 large onion, peeled and diced
• olive oil for sauteing vegetables
• 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 2 small-medium yellow summer squash, deseeded and chopped
• 2 small-medium zucchini, deseeded and chopped
• approx. 4-6 cups fresh spinach
• 1 large, or 2 small, ripe tomatoes, diced
• 1 15-ounce can white beans
• 4 cups vegetable stock
• salt and pepper to taste
• sliced toasted baguette
• basil pesto as needed (see hints below)
• grated parmesan cheese for garnish
• extra virgin olive oil drizzle for garnish (optional)
1. There is a bit of knife work involved, and you can do that in stages as you go. You'll want to get started by sauteing 1 large diced onion in a little olive oil to soften.
2. You'll also need to mince a couple of cloves of garlic and, while you're keeping your eye on the onions, cut the ends off of the squash, quarter it lengthwise. Use your knife to cut the seeds out and cut it crosswise into bite size pieces.
3. Once the onions have softened up, add the garlic and the squash and cook that along for 4 - 5 minutes.
4. Then add a generous handful of fresh spinach, if you're using it, let that wilt down a bit. Then add 1 large diced tomato and 1 15-ounce can of white beans, add 4 cups of vegetable stock and bring it up to a simmer.
5. Adjust the heat on that and let it simmer along for 5 to maybe 10 minutes and, while that's happening, toast the sliced bread and then slather it with the basil pesto.
6. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, serve it up with the basil pesto toast along side and finish with grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if you like.
HINTS: Make your own basil pesto by pureeing 2 firmly packed cups of fresh basil leaves with 1 medium peeled clove of garlic, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup walnuts or pinenuts and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Add more oil if needed.