Start with canned pumpkin (for rich, smooth flavor) and canned white beans (for body), and you end up with a speedy first course that's crowned with a flavor-packed pesto. Make the soup a few days ahead, but do the pesto only shortly before serving so its color stays vibrant.
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
How to Make It
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1 tablespoon sage, and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add pepper and cumin; sauté 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup stock; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine onion mixture, remaining 2 cups stock, beans, and pumpkin in a blender; process until smooth. Return stock mixture to pan. Stir in milk and salt. Bring to a simmer; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar.
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon sage, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a mini food processor; process until smooth. Ladle about 2/3 cup bisque into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 2 teaspoons pesto.