I love this super easy, hearty, delicious soup. It’s perfect for a cold Sunday afternoon. Serve with a loaf of rustic bread and a peppery California Zinfandel. The trick to pairing wine with the flavor of pesto is find a wine that has a powerful flavor and bright acidity. A good California Zinfandel is perfection in a bottle.
2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, diced
1 6-ounce white-skinned potato, peeled, dice
3 tablespoons water
8 cups canned vegetable broth
1/2 cup orzo
6 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Puree all ingredients in processor. Season with salt and pepper. (Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy large pot. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 -12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil. Stir in orzo; boil uncovered until orzo is almost tender, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add green beans; reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in cannellini and crushed pepper; simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide pesto among 4 bowls. Ladle soup over pesto; swirl to blend. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese.