Cheesy Pesto Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 leek, sliced into rings
  • 500g (about 1 pound) pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • half a big carrot, chopped
  • 4 to 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 10-cm (or 4-inch) sprig of rosemary
  • 3 big sage leaves
  • 5 5-cm (or 2-inch) sprigs of thyme
  • 10 10-cm (or 4-inch) sprigs of oregano
  • 2 liters (or 1 quarts) boiling vegetable stock
  • 1 400g (or 1 14 ounce) can of cannellini beans or white beans
  • 85ml (or ⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon) extra virgin olive oil
  • 75g (or 1 scant cup) of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 fat cloves or garlic, minced
  • 20g (or about ¾ of an ounce) fresh basil leaves
  1. To a stock pot or Dutch oven, add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Throw in the onions, leek, pumpkin, carrots and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, then cover with a lid, crank down the heat to low and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, prep the tomatoes. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil and pour the water in a pan. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a rolling boil. With a sharp knife, cut a large x into the side of each tomato. Using a slotted spoon, carefully submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water. After about 30 seconds, or when the x on the side of the tomatoes starts to open up a bit, remove the tomatoes and submerge in cold water. Then gently peel off the skin, starting at the x. Cut each tomato in eight wedges and remove the seeds with a spoon or a knife. Cut each wedge into 3 to 5 pieces.
  3. Next, make a bouquet garni by gathering the rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano into a bunch and tying the bunch together with kitchen string.
  4. Add the tomatoes and the bouquet garni to the stock pot. Pour in the hot stock, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans.
  5. Next, make the pesto, or pistou. In the work bowl of a stick blender or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the extra virgin olive oil, the Parmesan cheese, the garlic and the basil. Blitz to a smooth, fragrant purée.
  6. Add the beans to the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes, then stir half of the cheesy pesto into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and spoon the soup onto plates or into serving bowls. Top with another spoonful of pesto and serve!
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at