Minestrone with Sole

Thick and chunky with vegetables and pieces of sole, this pesto-flavored soup is hearty enough to make a meal. Serve it hot to take the chill off a winter night, or at room temperature for a cool summertime supper.

Yield: 4
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3/4 pound boiling potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 head cabbage (about 3/4 pound), shredded
  • 3 3/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 1/2 cups drained and rinsed canned pinto beans (one 15-ounce can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds sole fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pesto, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. 1. In a large pot, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer.
  2. 2. Add the broth, beans, tomato paste, and salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 18 minutes. Add the sole, pesto, and pepper and bring back to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the fish is just done, about 1 to 2 minutes more. To serve, ladle into bowls and pass more pesto if you like.
  3. Fish Alternatives: You can use any other member of the flounder family, such as sand dab or fluke, in place of the sole. Or try a firmer, white fish, such as cod, halibut, or monkfish. For these thicker fish, add another minute to the cooking time.
  4. Wine Recommendation: A light Italian white wine will be delightful with the vegetables and pesto. Look for the most recent vintage of a pinot grigio from the northern Alto Adige region.
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