once upon a chef
– 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.
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.
Add the chicken stock, bay leaves and orzo and cook until the orzo is al dente.
At the last minute, add the frozen peas and zucchini – they only take a minute or two to cook.
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!