Spring Minestrone with Mint and Basil Pistou

 

This is a recipe for a light yet rich soup that utilizes many of the fresh ingredients available in the spring. I usually make my soups quite haphazardly and with whatever looks good at the market so creating a recipe for soup where everything was carefully measured out and recorded was quite challenging. I do believe it turned out pretty well and really showcases the ingredients to their fullest. If you want to make it vegetarian, you could leave out the bacon. However, I think that the fat from it really enhances the flavor of the broth and makes for a much richer tasting soup. The technique used of leaching the flavor from the vegetables first and then putting in freshly blanched ones later, allows the vegetables' textures, colors, and flavors to shine. - kcpoindexter

What you will need

4 pieces Thick cut Bacon

2 Large Leeks, white and light green parts only

2 Small to medium sized Sweet Onions

6 Carrots

1 Fennel Bulb, fronds removed

3 Celery Stalks

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 cups Chicken or Vegetable broth

1 bunch Asparagus, woody ends removed

1 Zucchini

1 bunch Swiss Chard, preferably green variety

1 1/2 cups Peas

3 Cloves of garlic

salt and pepper

Paremesan Cheese and Parmesan Rind

4.5 cups Basil, lightly packed

2 cups Mint, lightly packed

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Pine Nuts

1 Garlic clove

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

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