shellfish minestrone with basil pesto

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  tbd
servings:  4 - 6

pesto ingredients:
2 ounces fresh basil leaves (a large fistful)
1 ounce italian parsley leaves and tender stems (a small handful)
2 garlic cloves - roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil

minestrone ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion - diced
1/2 cup diced carrot
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch saffron
8 garlic cloves - minced
1 bay leaf
small bundle fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup cooked cannelloni beans
24 little neck clams - well rinsed
7 cups hot fish stock or chicken broth
1 pound squid - cut crosswise in 1/2-inch rings + tentacles
1 cup small green peas
1 cup blanched and peeled fava beans

pesto steps:
1.  put basil, parsley and 2 chopped garlic cloves in a blender.  season lightly with salt and pepper.  add 1/2 cup olive oil and puree on high speed, scraping down sides as necessary.  pour into a small serving bowl, cover tightly and set aside.

minestrone steps:
1.  put 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  add onion, carrot, season generously with salt and pepper and stir to coat.  cook for about 2 minutes until softened.  add red pepper, saffron, 8 cloves minced garlic, bay leave and thyme and let sizzle, then add tomato and simmer a few minutes more.

2.  stir in cannelloni beans.  add clams, in one layer if possible, and 1 cup water.  turn heat to high and put on lid.  keep at a rapid simmer until all clams have opened, about 5 minutes.  add fish stock and bring to a simmer.  taste broth and adjust seasoning.

3.  just before serving, add squid, peas and fava beans and simmer for 2 minutes.  ladle into shallow soup bowls and stir 2 teaspoons basil puree into each.

- new york times, june 2013

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