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Parsnip & Parmesan Soup with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

This silky soup is quite good on its own, but the gorgeous green pesto adds a burst of flavor.


For the pesto

  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds); more for garnish (optional)
  • 3 oz. fresh basil leaves, stems removed (2 packed cups)
  • 3/4 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, coarsely grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the soup

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved, thinly sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch half-moons and well washed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2-1/4 cups)
  • 5 cups Cheese Rind Broth

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 520
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 370
  • Fat (g): 41
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 27
  • Cholesterol (mg): 5
  • Sodium (mg): 410
  • Carbohydrates (g): 27
  • Fiber (g): 7
  • Sugar (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 12


Make the pesto

  • Pulse the pepitas in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Add the basil, cheese, and a pinch of salt, and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until the pesto is blended; it will be thick.

Make the soup

  • Heat the oil in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, celery, and 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the parsnips, and stir to coat. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, simmering, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Working in batches if necessary, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Wipe out the pot, return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt. Stir the pesto, dollop some onto each serving of soup, and sprinkle with a few pepitas, if you like.

Make Ahead Tips

The pesto will keep for 3 days covered and refrigerated.


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