Serves 10 to 12
If you are making this soup ahead, do not add the rice. When you are ready to serve, cook the rice separately in some salted water, drain, and add it to the reheated soup just before serving. You can also omit the rice entirely, for a lighter version.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
- 2 large carrots, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 2 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 2 large leeks, white and light-green parts, halved and sliced ½ inch thick
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 4 ears corn, kernels removed, cobs reserved
- 1 pound zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch-thick half-moons
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ¼ cup pesto, homemade (page 51), prepared without mayo or store-bought
- Grated Grana Padano, for serving
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to stick to the bottom of the pot and form a crust, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and leeks, and cook until the leeks wilt, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 5 quarts cold water, the bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt, and reserved corn cobs. Bring to a rapid simmer, and cook to concentrate and blend the flavors, about 30 minutes.
Add the zucchini and green beans, and cook, simmering rapidly, until the potatoes begin to fall apart and thicken the soup and it is dense and flavorful, about 1 hour.
Add the rice and corn kernels, and simmer until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in the pesto, adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary, and serve in soup bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated cheese.