Vegetable and Bean Soup with Pesto: Minestrone alla Genovese Sandwiches with Arugula and Ham: Panini con Rucola e Prosciutto
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (ceci or chick peas)
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, cannellini, drained
- 6 cups chicken stock, available in paper containers on soup aisle
- 1 cup small, thin egg noodles for soup, any brand
- 1 box frozen chopped green beans
- 4 crusty rolls or 8 slices crusty bread
- 8 ounces, 1/2 pound, robiola or ricotta cheese
- 1 cup arugula leaves, loosely packed
- 8 slices prosciutto di Parma
- Pesto Genovese:
- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- 1 large clove garlic
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pine nuts (pignoli)
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Heat a medium soup pot over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add onion, potato and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 or 6 minutes alone, stirring frequently, then add the canned beans and the chicken stock. Cover the pot and bring the soup up to a boil.
Preheat a panini grill or a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Build 4 panini: spread roll or bread with a couple ounces of cheese, then top with a few leaves of arugula and 2 slices of prosciutto for each sandwich. Place panini in sandwich press or onto hot, heavy bottomed pan. Top with another heavy skillet or a brick wrapped in foil to press sandwiches. Press sandwiches until crisp on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
When the soup is at a boil, remove the lid. Stir in the noodles and green beans and reduce heat to low. Simmer soup an additional 5 to 6 minutes then remove it from the heat.
Combine basil, garlic, nuts and cheese in the food processor and turn it on. Stream in the extra-virgin olive oil and process until pesto is nearly smooth.
Scrape the pesto into a small bowl. Add a ladle of the soup broth to thin the pesto, then add the pesto to the soup. Stir to combine and serve soup immediately with panini, for dipping.