Vegetable Soup with Pesto

Ingredients: 

¼ lb pancetta, chopped (can substitute regular bacon)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb
1 medium onion
1 medium turnip
3 medium carrots
¼ small cabbage
2 small yellow summer squash or zucchini
1 large potato or handful of tiny new potatoes
1 rind of large parmesan cheese wedge
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tsp salt
Water (enough to cover vegetables)
1 10 oz package frozen baby lima beans
½ lb haricots verts
1 15 oz can cannellini bean, drained and rinsed
1 bunch or small package of baby spinach

Preparation: 

Rinse and chop all vegetables. Add oil to large pot over moderate heat and cook pancetta. Stir occasionally, until just beginning to brown. Stir in fennel, onion, turnip, carrots, and cabbage and cook until cabbage is wilted. Add cheese rind, squash, potato, green beans, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, salt, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Add lima and cannellini beans. Cook for another 5-7 minutes. Discard cheese rind, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Stir in spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish soup with pesto.

Notes: This recipe is only a guide. Feel free to experiment with the veggies. The best parts of this soup are the parmesan cheese rind and the pesto. (Don’t leave them out!) I usually make a big pot with the first cold front of the season and then freeze half of it when I feel we are craving some vegetables in the middle of winter.