Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vegetable Orzo Soup

This is a great soup for spring because it is full of the promise of summer's farmers markets yet has the warmth needed for chilly spring days. It was also my introduction to the fennel bulb.

Vegetable Orzo Soup

1/2 c. dry white beans
4 c. water
3 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c. fennel bulb, white part chopped
3 sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t. salt
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or one 14oz can diced tomatoes)
8 oz frozen green beans
1/3 c. dried orzo

Bring to beans and water to boil, cook for two minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, for one hour. Drain beans and return to pot with chicken broth and next eight ingredients. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes and green beans. Cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add orzo 10 minutes before serving. Top with basil pesto and parmesan when served.

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