cats and Sun Oven

Homemade pesto is easy to make and tastes much better than the store-bought stuff and if you have an herb garden you probably have a lot of basil this time of year. Traditional Genoese pesto is made with pine nuts, but walnuts will work too.

Sun Oven White Bean Soup with Pesto

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped

3 cups previously solar cooked white beans, (cannellini, Mayacoba, or navy)

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup pesto (homemade* or store-bought)

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper, tomatoes (both kinds), beans, and broth. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the flavors have blended, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the pesto just before serving.

*Pesto

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Combine the garlic and nuts in a blender or food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the basil and continue processing until a paste is formed. With the machine running, add the olive oil by pouring it in a fine stream through the feed tube. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese. The pesto will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container and topped with a thin layer of olive oil.

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