Oh how I wish I had known about this earlier. It is a combination of some of my favorite things: pasta (of course) and pesto. Who knew that you could combine the two in a soup? This is now a staple in our monthly recipe routine. The kicker? It’s incredibly easy to throw together but it tastes like you spent hours and hours working on it.
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 slices of bacon, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
- ½ lb linguine or spaghetti, broken into quarters
- 6 cups water
- 1 ½ cups fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
- To make the pesto, rinse the basil leaves and dry thoroughly.
- Combine the basil and garlic in a processor with 1 ½ tablespoons oil.
- Pulse until you have a slightly chunky sauce, but not smooth, adding the remaining oil while processing. Stop once or twice to scrape the basil off the sides.
- Spoon into a bowl, stir in the cheese and season with salt.
- To make the soup, combine the oil and the bacon in a pan and sauté over moderate heat.
- Once the bacon starts to get crispy, add the garlic. Cook for two or three minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Stir in 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- Add the linguine and a good pinch of salt. Cook until al dente. About halfway through cooking the pasta add the tomato. Remove the soup from heat.
- Stir in the pesto.
- Check to make sure the soup has the right proportions of salt and pesto. Serve immediately.
** This recipe has been slightly adapted from Italian Country Cooking by Loukie Werle.
Just a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is, you really don’t need a food processor to make this. In the past we’ve made the pesto by hand. Also, if you want to make this even simpler and even faster, you can buy a jar of pesto sauce at the store and mix it in at the end. Just be sure to get a higher quality jar of pesto.
Second, make sure to cook the pasta only until al dente. I tend to cook it even less than the time indicated on the box for al dente. The pasta will sit in the hot broth and continue to cook even after you take it off the stove. Also, keep in mind if you want to save any leftovers for another meal, the more “al dente” the better.