February 26, 2013

Pesto Bean Soup

This week I made it my mission to find a new soup recipe to try as my "one new recipe a week."  Turns out this was not an easy task, despite my ever growing pile of recipes I have accumulated over the years.  As I tried to find something I wanted to make I decided it had to be something that would require no special trips to the store, hence the reason it turned out to be a little difficult!  
Then I stumbled upon a pesto bean soup in one of my old Food Network Magazines.  After reading it over and making a few adjustments to suite my tastes, I decided to give it a go.  I love soup in the winter for lunch, and since I was out of salad fixings I was hopeful that this soup would turn out OK so I'd have lunch for a few days.  Pesto is one of my most favorite things to eat, so as I could smell the soup simmering away I realized there was no way this wouldn't be good. 

I was right - I really like this soup.  It's delicious and hearty, and pretty much the perfect lunch on a dreary winter day.  Even my husband, who is on the fence about pesto, kept "testing" the soup and saying it had really good flavor.  Haha.....I think he loves pesto but just doesn't want to admit it!

PS - I don't know what it is about soup, but it is really hard to take a decent picture of it!  Sorry this picture is not only boring, but that it doesn't really showcase all the wonderful things going on in that bowl!

Pesto Bean Soup (adapted from Food Network magazine)

Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2/3 cup celery, finely chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
1 cup water
3 tbsp pesto (click here & scroll down for my basil pesto recipe)
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2/3 cup ham, diced
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium/large saucepan, and add the garlic, celery and red pepper flakes.  Saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the beans and water, and simmers for about 15 minutes or until it begins to thicken.  Add the pesto and chicken stock, stirring to combine, and cook for 15 minutes.  Add the roasted red peppers and ham, salt & pepper to taste, and simmer for another 15 minutes before serving.  Serves 4. 

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