Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pasta and bean soup with pesto

Pasta, beans and pesto are three of my favorite foods. Last night I had a brainwave! Use all of these in a single soup. Why didn't I think of this earlier? The best part of this soup? It can be made start to finish using ingredients from the pantry or refrigerator. That is if you are a good grocery shopper and have pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, pesto and assorted spices in your fridge or pantry. I am not, so I did have to make a grocery store run but I thought I would mention it for the benefit of all of you good grocery shoppers.

The combination of pesto and tomatoes was inspired by this Spaghetti recipe on one of my favorite blogs, The Perfect Pantry. Actually, ever since I saw this recipe I couldn't wait to try out these two flavours together. The rest of the ingredients were only an excuse to bulk up the soup. I used Trader Joe's Genovese pesto (some of you know my obsession for this) but I think any store bought or fresh homemade pesto would work great, which reminds me that making pesto from scratch is high on my list this summer, when basil is in abundance. So if any of you have a good tried and tested pesto recipe, I would love to try it. I might even send you a container :).

Coming back to the soup, it was quite easy to put together. Other than pesto, I used oregano and crushed red pepper flakes for extra flavour. I was quite thrilled at the result, which had nice hints of pesto combined with the heat of red pepper and the tartness of tomatoes. Also the beans and pasta made it a satisfying one dish meal. It even tasted great cold! Now thats a winner.
Now that you are done reading the post, I would urge you to look around and ask yourself does the blog look different? We just redid the design and would love to hear your thoughts/suggestions.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 can of cannellini or white kidney beans
1 cup of any small pasta (I used shells)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 and half tablespoons of pesto (fresh or store-bought)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon red chili flakes

- Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan or stock pot.
- Add chopped onions, minced garlic and chopped carrots. Saute till soft.
- Add the pesto and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, followed by oregano and red chilli pepper. Add salt to taste (adjust the quantity as per the salt in the pesto and canned tomatoes).
- Add the beans and saute for a couple of more minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Check seasonings.
- Add pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes till pasta is tender.

Makes 4 main servings.


  1. I make tons of pesto every summer and then freeze it so that I can use it year round! I'd better get to using my freezerful before this summer's basil hits!

    Love this pasta dish. It is an ideal combination of so many wonderful flavors!

  2. looks filling & delicious, i have not added pasta in my soup before but a great idea to include them as well

  3. Fabulous! I'm always delighted when I can throw together a great dish from the pantry. This has my favorite ingredients, too, and I think there might be one last bit of last summer's pesto hiding in my freezer....

  4. you have got a lovely space here.. and loved to know about you @ Deepas, you might see me often around :)

  5. Hi Radhika,
    I like pasta in soups, tempting. Loved the potato pancakes with pineapple chutney too. Blog with unique creative recipes.

  6. Hey Radhika, your guest post is published today..do have a look..Thanks so much for sharing the burger recipe.

    such a filling and tasty soup..

  7. hi deepa..first time here.. loved to read about u at foodlyrics.. will be here often..following u..:)

  8. Coming from deepa's blog..Your burger post looks fab!
    Very nice collection of recipes..
    Following you..hope to see you around..:)

  9. hey..landed here from foodlyrics. Nice space with fabulous recipes. Love your guest post and love your space. Bookmarking Chicken Xacuti for a future try-out!

  10. @Joanne, Lydia: Thanks! I would love to have your pesto recipes!

    @Sushma: Pasta in soup tastes great, give it a try!

    @Kanchan, J, Uma, Cool Lassi(e), Panchpakwan: Welcome and thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you all around :)

    @Deepa: Thanks dear!

  11. First time here .Came from Deepa's blog .Soup looks yummy!

  12. Radhika, I make a cilantro pesto with a lot of cilantro (stems as well), with almonds (soaked over night and skin removed), garlic and olive oil. I just throw everything in the food processor and blend it to pesto consistency. It's yummy tossed with some hot pasta.

  13. @Padhu: Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you around.

    @frugalfashionista: That sounds yum! I will definitely give that a try!

  14. love this simple pasta and bean soup, Radhika! pesto must add very nice flavors to it. This goes straight to my bookmark folder now; and enjoyed reading your guest post at Deepa's too.

  15. Do you drain and rinse the beans or dump the whole can liquid and all?

  16. @PJ: Thanks! Let me know how it turns out!

    @pookiepantry: Thanks! Let me know if you like it!

    @Seana: Yes, I rinse and drain the beans. Let me know if you give this a try!

  17. This soup looks lovely. I recently made homemade pesto and can't beleive how incredibly easy it is! Although it's really warm here in Bombay, I will be very happy to turn down the AC temperature and have a bowl of your soup!

  18. Hi - I did try this tonight and loved it. Added some shredded chicken to make it a complete meal. Thanks again for posting!

  19. I made this today and it was great. I used stock instead of water, but found that it was not quite enough liquid for it to be soupy so I added extra water as well. Delicious!