My final recipe experiment for the month of January 2010. Another one from Rachael Ray's website. Here's what's up:
•1 cup basil leaves, lightly packed (a trick I learned - if you don't have access to fresh herbs, you can cook dried ones in warm water and achieve the same effect)
•1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls)
•1/4 cup dill (a handful)
•1/4 cup lightly toasted shelled pistachios or pine nuts
•1 clove garlic, finely chopped and mashed into paste with a little salt or grated
•1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a generous handful)
•Salt and pepper
•1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus 2 tablespoons, divided
•3/4 pound chicken tenders, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
•1 medium to large onion, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
•2 ribs celery from heart, chopped
•1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
•1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
•1 bay leaf
•8 cups chicken stock or 6 cups chicken stock, plus 2 cups water
•2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
•1 cup small cut pasta, such as small penne or ditalini
Combine the herbs, nuts, garlic and grated cheese in a food processor. While the machine is running, stream in the EVOO, about 1/3 cup, to make a pesto. Scrape the sauce into a small dish and reserve.
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns if the pan, over medium heat. Add the chicken and lightly brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4-5 minutes more.
Add the stock and/or water and bring to a boil. Stir in the green beans and pasta and keep at a low boil until the pasta is cooked to al dente.
Serve the soup in shallow bowls and stir in rounded tablespoonfuls of pesto.
THE END RESULT
Chris gave out another "8" rating tonight - he said the soup felt "lonely" without a grilled cheese sandwich. It was really tasty though, probably the best homemade chicken noodle soup I've ever had and definitely the fastest (it only took 40 minutes, excluding chopping time). My whole house smells like chicken noodle soup now and makes me think of my mom. Also, I learned to make my own pesto - pretty cool! Of course it was missing a little something that I couldn't put my finger on, so now I'm determined to continue experimenting with that.