This golden fall vegetable soup couldn’t be easier, it’s just vegetables, herbs, and water, and once the prep is done, there’s really not much cooking to do at all. Add some wonderful flavor to... the soup by using a smoky dried chipotle pod at the beginning, and, stir in a fresh infusion of herbs for added depth.
Place all of the soup vegetables into a large pot, except for the canned beans and the macaroni.
Add the bouquet garni and 3 quarts of water, or enough to cover the vegetables by 1-inch. Add the salt. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer gently for an hour or until the vegetables are tender and the squash can be mashed against the sides of the pan. While the soup is cooking, prepare the Spicy Gremolata (to learn how, click here).
Remove the bouquet garni. Mash some of the squash against the pan to thicken the broth. Add the beans, cook for 10 minutes. Taste for salt. Add the macaroni. Cook until al dente. Stir in the Spicy Herb Pesto and serve immediately with the grated cheese.
Traditional Basil Pesto is also delicious stirred into this soup.
A bouquet garni is basically a bundle of herbs that is added to soups and stews to add flavor. They are particularly useful in vegetarian cooking. If herbs are not available at all, it’s not the end of the world. Just use fresh parsley, bay leaf and dried rosemary. If using cheesecloth for a wrapper, add ½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns.
To make a bouquet garni:
Lay 3 to 4 stems of flat leaf parsley together on a cutting board. On the leafy end, lay a bay leaf, a sprig of fresh thyme, a couple of sage leaves and a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
Roll the leaves together so that they end up wrapped in the parsley stems. Wrap in cheesecloth or tie with kitchen twine to secure the bundle. That’s it.