Total time: About 1 hour, 40 minutes Serves: 6 to 8
This recipe is also from Los Angeles Times test kitchen director Donna Deane. She suggests saving the rinds from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to add to the soup pot. It gives added flavor and substance to this vegetarian soup.
¾ cup olive oil, divided
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1 medium onion, diced into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 bulb fennel, cored and cut into ¼-inch-thick strips
6 cloves minced garlic, divided
2 large tomatoes, cored, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 (2-inch) pieces Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
2¼ teaspoons salt, divided
3/8 teaspoon white pepper, divided
2 cups parsley leaves
1 yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 zucchini squash, cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup tube pasta (such as tubetti), cooked according to package directions, about eight minutes and drained
Heat one-fourth cup of the oil in a large pot over high heat until hot. Add the onion, and reduce the heat to medium. Saute the onion until it begins to brown around the edges, about five minutes. Stir in the fennel and continue to sauté until the fennel is tender and just begins to brown around the edges, about five more minutes. Stir in 2 cloves of the minced garlic during the last minute of sautéing.
Add the tomatoes and 6 cups water. Stir in the cheese rinds, 2 teaspoons of the salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and then cover and simmer 20 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the pistou. Purée the parsley and the remaining minced garlic cloves in a food processor. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and remaining pepper. With the motor running, drizzle in the remaining olive oil until emulsified.
Add the squash and the beans to the pot, and continue to simmer until the beans are just cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove the Parmesan rinds from the soup, and stir in the cooked pasta. Ladle the soup into large flat bowls. Spoon a dollop of pistou onto each serving. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 251 calories; 3 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams fat (3 saturated); 0 cholesterol; 685 milligrams sodium.