Minestrone with Arugula Pesto

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cups diced eggplant or zucchini
8 to 12 mushrooms, sliced
1 can stewed tomatoes, (14-ounces)
1 large white potato, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup tubettini or orzo pasta
For the pesto:
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups packed arugula, chopped
1/3 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan heat oil. Add the onion, eggplant mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 6 cups of hot water, stewed tomatoes, potato, tomato paste, and
seasonings, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes more, stirring frequently. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Puree the garlic, arugula, and nuts together in a bowl, food processor fitted with a steel blade, or blender. Blend in the oil and cheese, forming a paste. Transfer to a serving bowl. Ladle the minestrone into bowls and swirl a small spoonful of pesto into each bowl. Serve with warm Italian bread.

Soup Tips:
I also like to add a 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (drained) near the finish. If arugula is unavailable, try a combination of basil and watercress.



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