The fresh shelling beans or chickpeas are completely optional. They make the soup more of a one-dish meal, but for a lighter, first-course soup they wouldn't be necessary at all.
Like all soups, this one tastes best when made with Homemade Broth.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
- 3 small zucchini and/or summer squash, trimmed and diced
- 2 tomatoes, cored and diced
- 1/4 lb orzo or similarly small pasta (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
- 2 cups cooked fresh shelling beans or chickpeas (optional)
- About 1 cup pesto
- Bring the broth, water, and thyme sprigs to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme (some leaves may remain, that’s fine). Season the broth to taste with salt.
- Meanwhile, blanch the basil if making homemade Pesto.
- Add the green beans. When the broth returns to a simmer add the zucchini and/or summer squash. When the broth returns to a simmer add the tomatoes. Bring just to a boil and add the pasta. Return to a simmer and adjust heat to maintain a steady, gentle simmer and cook until pasta is tender to the bite, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finish the Pesto recipe, if making homemade.
- Serve the soup hot, with pesto on the side for each diner to add to their soup as they like.
Makes 6 servings.