Serves 8 to 10
This soup is meant to showcase the vegetables of summer, so feel free to vary, based on what is good at your farmers’ market – green beans, yellow squash, or even a handful of cherry tomatoes would be a wonderful addition here. If you’re starting with favas in the pod, you’ll need about 4 pounds or so to get the yield below. But don’t worry- make it a family affair and you’ll have them shucked and peeled in no time.
Active Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 leeks, white and light-green parts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 3 ears corn, kernels removed from the cob, cobs reserved and broken in half
- Kosher salt
- Peperoncino flakes
- 2 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups shelled fresh favas (see headnote; frozen peeled favas are okay, too)
- 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- Freshly grated Grana Padano or pecorino, for serving
Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the potatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Make a spot in the center of the pot, and add the tomato paste in that spot. Cook and stir the tomato paste there until the tomato paste darkens a shade or two, about 1 minute. Add the leeks, carrots, and celery. Cook until the leeks wilt, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 4 quarts water, the bay leaves, and the corn cobs. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and a big pinch of peperoncino. Simmer rapidly until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Add the zucchini and corn kernels. Adjust the heat so the soup is at a rapid simmer, and cook until zucchini and corn are tender, 15 to 20 minutes more. Add the favas, and simmer rapidly until they begin to break down and the soup is thick and flavorful, about 15 minutes more. Season with salt, and remove the bay leaves and the corn cobs.
Meanwhile, put the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt in the work bowl of a mini-food processor and pulse to make a coarse paste. With the machine running, add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and process to make a smooth pesto. Stir the pesto into the soup just before serving. Pass grated cheese at the table.