Winter, spring, summer or fall, minestrone – that hearty soup with Italian roots – can be crafted with any season in mind, utilizing many kinds of ingredients on hand, from leftovers to delicate spring garden greens.
It’s the perfect kind of dish for improvisation and that’s exactly what I did. My version here was a summer minestrone with winter designs, perfect for the strange hot-cold summer weather we’ve been experiencing.
Garlic, celery, red onion and chopped-up stalks of kale and Swiss chard I’d been saving were sauteed in olive oil. I added cooked Costa Rican red beans, leftover chicken meat and finally chicken stock. The contents were brought to the boil and simmered for 30 minutes.
Chopped kale, Swiss chard and green beans were then added and simmered for five minutes.
Then came the flavour punch. Big bunches of basil, stems removed, were chopped and added. (Remember to save those basil stems, they are brilliant infused in olive oil and used as a finishing touch to braised vegetables, pizza or focaccia.) Two heaping spoonfuls of pesto were then added and about 5 ounces of freshly grated parmesan was heaved in.
Then came a big spoonful of pressed yogurt, stirred to combine. Served in heated bowls.
Verdant, earthy, luscious and so nourishing.

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