A mixed herb pesto adds bright, fresh flavor to Rach's chicken soup that's chock full of spring veggies like asparagus, peas and leeks.
- About ¼ cup salted cashews (about a small handful)
- About ¼ cup pine nuts (about a small handful)
- 2 large cloves garlic, grated or pasted
- 1 packed cup basil, tarragon and flat parsley leaves
- About 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (a few stems)
- About ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Salt and pepper
- About ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or a small green chili pepper, optional (for spicy pesto)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced, whites and light greens
- 1 bundle thin asparagus, trimmed of tough ends and thinly sliced on a bias, tips left in bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup fresh peas
- ½ cup dry crisp white wine, optional
- 2 quarts chicken bone broth
- 1 cup toasted orzo pasta or ditalini pasta or egg pasta, optional
- 3 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, diced or pulled into small pieces
For pesto, toast the nuts on a small pan in oven or in a small skillet on stove top. Cool and add to processor bowl with garlic, herbs, cheese, zest and juice of lemon, and salt and pepper. Pulse to finely chop and with machine on stream in EVOO. Add pepper flakes or chili if using and process until fairly smooth.
Heat EVOO in a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat, add leeks, asparagus, peas, and salt, then stir a couple of minutes and add wine, let it absorb. Add stock to pot, then bring to boil, add pasta if using, cook 5 minutes, add chicken and heat a minute more, add pesto and remove from heat. Let stand a few minutes and serve in shallow bowls.