Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pesto Gnocchi Soup

Winter put on a new layer of make-up. A 2-3 inch layer of fresh snow, and the world looks like primetime again. The rest of the week will be arctic cold, winter is back, a light version at least. Last week Isa’s new cookbook arrived in my mail and yesterday I read through the recipes. The soups alone are worth it. The pesto gnocchi soup immediately captured my attention. A creamy soup made with pureed cauliflower and basil leaves to give it a spring green, and with gnocchi, Swiss chard and beans. --- I made it with frozen basil and I think it is better to make it with fresh, which makes the soup look much brighter. My soup is more on a muddy winter color. Otherwise, I am sure I’ll make it again.


Pesto Gnocchi Soup (my version)

Makes 3 servings

  • 1 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 0.5 regular sized head cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into florettes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 cubes frozen basil or a cup fresh basil
  • ca 10  frozen gnocchi, partially thawed (to separate them)
  • 0.5 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 0.5 cup frozen edamame
  • 2 large swiss chard, stems discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • optional: fresh grated parmesan, sliced almonds

Preheat a medium sized pot over medium heat. Saute garlic in olive oil for about a minute, being careful not to let it burn. Add cauliflower, 3 cups of broth (only 3 of the cups! the last cup is added in  a bit), salt, thyme and several dashes fresh black pepper. Cover pot and bring to a boil, stirring every now and again for about 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender.

Mix the final cup of broth and the cornstarch until dissolved. Lower heat a bit so that the soup is at a slow boil. Mix in the broth/arrowroot and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes until slightly thickened. stirring often. Add the basil leaves, and remove from heat (don’t cook the leaves!). Use a submersion blender to puree until smooth*. Adjust for salt.

Return soup to the stove over medium heat and add the gnocchi, chichpeas and frozen edamame. Cover and let cook for 3 minutes . Add the Swiss chard cook until greens are completely wilted (1-2 minutes). Be careful as you stir not to crush the gnocchi or beans. Serve with parmesan and sliced almonds.

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