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Vegetable and Bean Soup with Pesto: Minestrone alla Genovese and Sandwiches with Arugula and Ham: Panini con Rucola e Prosciutto

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

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

Panini:

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

Directions

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.