once upon a chef

Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto


– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil – 2 small yellow onions, chopped – 2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch pieces – 2 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch pieces – 2 tablespoons tomato paste – 8 cups low sodium chicken broth – 1 teaspoon salt – ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper – 2 bay leaves – ⅔ cup orzo – 1 small zucchini, cut into ¼-inch pieces – 1 cup frozen peas – ½ cup homemade or store bought pesto – Hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating over soup

This vegetable soup is healthy yet totally satisfying – perfect for a rainy day or cool summer night. Serve it with crusty bread or as a side to gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. Homemade pesto is easy to make, but a good quality store-bought pesto works well, too.

Step #1

Begin by cooking the onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil over medium heat until partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook a few minutes more.

Step #2

Add the chicken stock, bay leaves and orzo and cook until the orzo is al dente.

Step #3

At the last minute, add the frozen peas and zucchini – they only take a minute or two to cook.

Step #4

Finally, ladle the soup into bowls and top with heaping tablespoons of pesto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Be generous – these last two essential ingredients add loads of flavor. Pass more cheese and pesto at the table. Enjoy!