From Domenica Marchetti
- Serves 6 to 8.
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 oz. pancetta, diced, optional
- 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, thoroughly washed, halved lengthwise, and sliced thinly, crosswise (about 2 c.)
- 2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and then cut crosswise into small wedge-shaped pieces
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 to 7 c. vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 c. tubettini, ditalini or other small soup pasta
- 2 c. fresh or frozen peas, thawed if frozen
- 4 handfuls (about 4 oz.) fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, optional
- 3 to 4 tbsp. fresh basil pesto, see recipe
Adapted from startribune.com
Put olive oil, pancetta (if using) and leeks in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until olive oil and pancetta begin to sizzle, then lower heat to medium-low and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until leeks are softened and pancetta is just beginning to turn crisp.
Stir in zucchini and season with salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender but still holds its shape. Pour in 6 cups of broth and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring broth to a boil and slowly pour in pasta, taking care not to let the broth boil over. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer and cook the pasta for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in peas and spinach and cook until pasta is al dente or even a little bit more tender; cooking time will depend on the shape and brand of pasta you use. Add more broth to thin the soup, if you like.
Remove from the heat and stir in cheese, if using. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls, top with a dollop of pesto — no more than 1/2 tablespoon — and drizzle a little olive oil over each serving.
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