February 2020

Root Vegetable Soup With Pistachio Parsley Pesto


Root Vegetable Soup:

2 yellow onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
4 whole sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 strips of orange peel
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 red beets, peeled and diced (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pistachio Parsley Pesto:

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup raw pistachios, shelled
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper



To make the soup:

In a large pot over medium-low heat, sweat the onions and garlic in a generous coating of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Season with 2 generous pinches of salt and a grinding of black pepper. Add the butternut squash, sweet potato, potato, and carrots to the pot along with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add just enough cold water to barely cover the vegetables. (The trick here is not to use too much water - remember you can always add more later.) Add the orange peels, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil momentarily. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about 35 to 40 minutes until all the vegetables are nice and soft, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves, orange peel, and woody stems of the thyme and puree the soup in a blender or using an immersion blender. Add about 1/3 cup olive oil as you blend, to give the soup a lovely flavor and creamy consistency. Before serving, top each bowl with a spoonful of the pesto.

To make the optional beet soup:

In separate small pot, simmer two peeled and diced beets with barely enough water to cover them until they are soft and cooked through. Add a ladleful of soup from the other pot and puree the mixture in a food processor to make a second, bright red soup. Season with salt, black pepper, and olive oil. To serve, swirl a spoonful of the beet soup into the root vegetable soup for a colorful effect.

To make the pesto: 

In a food processor, pulse the parsley, pistachios, lemon zest, garlic (if using) and lemon juice until just smooth. Pulse again, drizzling olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is very smooth and bright green. Add a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 

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