Creamy White Bean Lemon Pesto Orzo Soup

Serves 4-6. My go-to for a quick and scrumptious weekday meal is often Half Baked Harvest.  And, this soup doesn't disappoint, much of the ingredients were already in my fridge or freezer.  I had last season's pesto frozen, a block of parmesan and kale in the refrigerator, and orzo in my pantry.  And, you know I had Margot's Morsels to spare.
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Red pepper flakes, to your taste
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 cups dry orzo pasta
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 can white beans - I had Great Northern white beans but, Cannellini would be just as good
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch kale, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, mine was frozen fresh, early last September
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or, canned full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Topped with crushed Margot's Morsels Simply Sea Salt or Primo Parmesan for an added kick of Parmesan flavor 
  • Large shaving of Parmesan cheese to garnish

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and chili flakes and cook until fragrant, no more than 5 minutes. Drop in the butter, and stir in the orzo. Cook

1-3 minutes until golden. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the beans and kale. Season with salt and pepper. If you have one (I did), add a parmesan rind. Simmer 8-10 minutes until the orzo is al dente, stirring often. It should become very creamy.

Stir in the pesto, milk, parmesan, and lemon, cook another few minutes until warmed through.

Divide the orzo and broth among bowls and add morsels before finishing off with a parmesan shavings and black pepper.  To make it even heartier, I happened to have some leftover shredded chicken and added it to the soup, at the end with the milk, parmesan and lemon.  But, you don't need it.  I'd like to believe the soup season is over but not so fast...there's still time to sit by the fire and enjoy and hearty bowl of soup with the crunch of Margot's Morsels calling my name.
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