Vegetable Soup With Fresh Basil

Maybe we should call this "End of the Garden Soup". Because everything you will need is in your garden, or in my case David's garden. The temperature is really dropping this week, perfect soup weather.

The touch of pesto drizzled into each bowl before serving imparts a lovely, color, and flavor. If you choose not to use it, finely chop 12 small leaves of fresh basil and sprinkle some over each bowl.

6 serving
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4 ounces fresh lima beans, or 1/2 cup dried
10 cups water
7 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 small zucchini, scrubbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium ribs celery with leaves, thinly sliced
2 large fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 medium onion
4 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 large leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, well rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise
4 ounces dried linguine, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 or 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 teaspoons of your favorite pesto or 12 fresh basil leaves

1. If using fresh lima beans, set them aside; if using dried, pick them over, discarding any storms. Soak overnight in cool water to cover by 2 inches. Drain and combine with 3 cups water in a medium-size saucepan. Brig to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a very slow but steady simmer and cook, covered, until the beans are almost tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Bring the 7 cups water, the oil, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, tomatoes, onion, green beans, peas, leek, and lima beans, fresh or cooked dried, and return the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook, covered, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Add the pasta pieces and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Let the soup rest off the heat for 15 minutes or so to gain flavor.

4. To serve, lade into warmed soup bowls, lightly drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil in the shape of your initial over each serving, then top with a teaspoon of pesto and serve.