The chef of Lucky Leek in Berlin, Germany, Josita Hartanto makes her minestrone with hearty kohlrabi and briny green olives. The soup is brightened by a fresh pesto, which is stirred in just before serving.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup ditalini pasta
- 5 tbsp. olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 cups finely diced zucchini
- 1 cup finely diced kohlrabi
- 1 cup finely chopped leek
- 3⁄4 cup finely diced fennel
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1⁄4 cup thawed frozen peas
- 6 large green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 cup plain cashews
- 5 oz. baby spinach
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 5 tbsp. pine nuts
- Toasted country bread, for serving
- In a medium saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta, stirring, until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta and keep warm. Return the empty pan to medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, kohlrabi, leek, and fennel. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 6 minutes.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved pasta along with the peas and olives and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes more.
- Make the cashew cream: Soak cashews with 3⁄4 cup boiling water in a blender until the water cools to room temperature, and then purée until silky smooth.
- Make the pesto: In a blender, combine the spinach with the basil, pine nuts, and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Purée into a smooth pesto and then scrape the pesto into the soup and stir until evenly combined. Ladle the minestrone into bowls and serve with toasted bread and cashew cream on the side.