Barley Minestrone

From Good Housekeeping, January 2007
Serves 6

1 cup pearl barley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cup green cabbage, thinly sliced, about 1/4 small head
2 large carrots, each cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 large celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 cup water
2 can (14 1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth, (3 1/2 cups)
1 can diced tomatoes, (14 1/2 ounces)
1 medium (about 6 ounces) zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

Light Pesto:
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon water
1/4 cup Romano cheese, freshly grated
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Heat 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add barley and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer barley to small bowl; set aside.
In same Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add cabbage, carrots, celery, and onion; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in barley, water, broth, tomatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 25 minutes.
Stir zucchini and beans into barley mixture; increase heat to medium and cook, covered, 10 to 15 minutes longer or until all vegetables and barley are tender.
In blender container with narrow base or in mini food processor, combine basil, oil, water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and blend until mixture is pureed. Transfer pesto to small bowl; stir in Romano and garlic. Makes about 1/2 cup pesto.

Ladle minestrone into 6 large soup bowls. Top each serving with some pesto.

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