I wasn't sure whether to call this a soup or a stew but you can make it how you want it by adding more stock - or not. This is a warming and filling dish, choc full of nutrition and goodness. I've never really got my act together enough to soak dry beans the night before and all that, I just use canned as I never know what the next day will bring.
This keeps well and makes a wonderful lunch or supper the next day. I do think fresh rosemary in the soup makes a difference and the pesto just makes it sing. I generally make the pesto ahead of time as it improves having had time to rest - don't we all!
For the soup
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 leek, washed thoroughly and chopped
3 sticks of celery, washed and chopped
1 small fennel - peeled and finely chopped
2 small or 1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2, 15 oz cans cannelini beans
1, 32 oz carton of organic chicken stock (you may need more)
Zest and a lemon and juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper
For the pesto
1 bunch of fresh parsley (about 1 cup)
1 clove (smallish) of garlic
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
To make the pesto, toast the pine nuts.
Combine the parsley, garlic, cheese and pine nuts in a food processor.
Process until very finely chopped.
Add the oil with the motor running until thoroughly combined.
Let rest for 1 hour before using.
To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, saute the onions for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, rosemary, carrots, leeks, celery and fennel, salt and pepper.
Saute for about 8 minutes until soft making sure the vegetables don't burn.
Add the beans and stir well to combine.
Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and partially cover.
Leave to cook for about 30 minutes.
When cooked, remove from the heat and add the lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine. Let the soup sit for a 1/2 hour if possible. Serve with a big bowl of pesto to spoon over.