Skip to main content

garlicky cranberry bean soup with pesto


Garlicky heirloom cranberry beans simmered with tomatoes, lots of garlic and fresh herbs is a summertime treat around here, especially with a generous amount of pesto spooned over the top of each bowl.  I like a grating of Parmesan cheese on top of my soup along with a few shredded leaves of fresh basil, then I'm a happy camper.  Yes, fresh homemade pesto gives extra deliciousness in every spoonful of this cranberry bean soup. Rancho Gordo heirloom beans are my cranberry beans of choice and fresh sweet basil is in just about every outside container in my garden.  The elbow pasta, carrots, zucchini and cranberry beans make one of my favorite soups a hearty meal that can be made earlier in the day and served later, anytime you like.  I made my pesto a few days ahead and kept it in the refrigerator until I was ready to put the soup together for dinner.  

Ingredients and Recipe for Garlicky Cranberry Bean Soup
Serves 6

8 ounces heirloom dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight and drained
1&1/2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
2 small leeks, white parts sliced
20 garlic cloves, peeled and minced, remove green stems from garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch fresh thyme
Parmesan rind, for the soup- optional 
1 medium carrot, large dice
French grey sea salt 
1 medium zucchini, large dice
1/2 cup dry elbow macaroni
Homemade Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons toasted pinenuts
1 clove garlic, sliced
lemon juice, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
Parmesan cheese, grated for serving
Fresh basil, shredded for serving

Place the drained beans in a large dutch oven or other heavy soup pot, add the tomatoes, leeks, garlic, bay leaves and thyme.  Pour in 2 quarts of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender.
Make the pesto in a food processor: combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, drizzle lemon, Parmigiano and sea salt.
Process using on and off until the sweet basil mixture in evenly chopped, turn on the motor and slowly pour in the olive oil, stopping to scrape down mixture.  Transfer pesto to a small glass bowl, pour olive oil over the top, cover and store in refrigerator.

Add the carrots to the bean pot along with about 4 teaspoons of French grey sea salt and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the zucchini and elbow pasta, continue to simmer until pasta is tender.

Remove the bay leaves, fresh thyme and Parmesan rind.
Gently squeeze the cherry tomatoes, allowing them to burst, remove the skins with tongs.
Taste the soup for seasoning.
Ladle the soup into bowls with pesto on top, adding grated Parmigiano and fresh shredded basil if desired.


Popular posts from this blog

springtime chamomile tea cake with strawberry icing

 Good grief, Easter is in the rear view mirror and we are deep into this new year.  And once again it's tea time at my house.  This chamomile tea cake is a beautiful sweet addition to any tea ritual, especially my favorite, chamomile tea, which I rediscovered in my hotel room in Carmel earlier this fast moving year.  I highly recommend a slice of chamomile tea cake with strawberry 🍓 icing with a cup of chamomile tea to just take a moment and slow this year down.  Baking with tea is both creative and fun.  Earlier this year I made Earl Gray sugar cookies which are made using the same method of infusing the butter with loose tea.  For my tea cake I also rubbed the lemon zest into the sugar -another way to lend a pop of citrus to your baking. The strawberry icing is made using freeze dried strawberries, I pulverize them in my spice mill and then they are pressed through a fine sieve into the confectioner's sugar.  In addition to using lemon zest rubbed into the sugar for the cake

pear jam with saffron infused honey and cardamom

  Pear Jam with Saffron Infused Honey and Cardamom The summer after high school I worked sorting Bartlett pears at the Scotts Valley Fruit Exchange in Lake County California.  I thought I would never touch or eat another pear again in my life. But, here I am years years later making pear jam in my kitchen with pears, honey and saffron grown in Lake County.  A few weeks ago My husband and I went to visit friends in Kelseyville at their finca, they generously supplied me with the pears from their orchard-Finca Castelero- for my jam.  I will never forget getting up early in the morning and riding my bike across the valley from my cousin's house to work a long hot day sorting pears.  I remember thinking whoever came up with the idea of creating a cooperative to sort, pack and send pears from family farms, including my cousin's family farm on what is now called Hendricks road, to markets all over the country really had a good idea!  I never looked at pears in the grocery store the s

braised romano beans with heirloom tomatoes and purple leaf sweet basil

  Romano beans braised in heirloom tomato sauce, shallots and garlic make an easy summer side dish -excellent served with grilled fish and potato purée.  I know because that's what we had for dinner last Saturday night.  I happily used purple basil from my own herb pots that are now watered with leftover shower water.  We have many more months of drought ahead of us in California and apparently mask wearing when in public, no not in the car. I appreciate our farmers markets more than ever, thank you farmers for romano beans and heirloom tomatoes and also myself for the fresh purple basil. Such a treat to find fresh romano green beans at the farmers market; they hold up to a fairly long, about 20 minute braise and become tender in the tomato broth from the heirloom tomatoes.  🍅 This is one of those simple good veg recipes. Ingredients and Recipe for Romano Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes and Purple Leaf Sweet Basil Serves 2-4 1 pound fresh romano beans, washed and trimmed 2 tablespoon