March 27, 2022 by Arden Montgomery

Spring Minestrone with Pistachio Pesto

I have been making this minestrone inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Spring + Summer Minestrone for years. It’s a staple throughout the year. In the spring I might not use any pancetta and opt for a more veggie centric spin, whereas in the winter I add pancetta or bacon to give it more body. I love how bacon adds a smokiness that can completely change the feel of the dish. It all depends on what you like, and of course what time of year it is! The crème fraîche topped with the pistachio pesto is a game changer!

Pair this minestrone and pistachio pesto in the spring with 2020 Par Fore the Course New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

This wine will bring out the green in the dish this spring! It will enhance the fresh herbs in the pesto and all the parsley in the base, and simultaneously complement the natural sweetness of the pistachios. The acidity will also cut through the oil leaving your palate feeling fresh and clean!

Ingredients: Serves 4 

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (or chopped broccoli)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 zucchini, quartered
  • 3 bacon slices or pancetta cut into 1-inch pieces *you can leave the bacon/pancetta out in the spring for more of a fresh take
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 cups roughly chopped tomatoes (try and use a cutting board that can catch the tomato juice liquid while chopping, you want to add everything to the pot and it can get a bit messy roughly chopping the tomatoes)
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic powder
  • See Pistachio Pesto (below)

Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pot on simmer. Allow the pot and oil to heat up and then add the onion, celery, carrots (if broccoli then wait), cracked black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix everything together and allow the onions to become translucent. Add the chopped bacon to the mixture and allow the bacon to start to crisp just slightly. Add the chopped parsley (stems and everything, while leaving some aside for plating). Stir together. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the broth and then add the orzo. The orzo will start to soak up some of the liquid as it cooks so add broth as needed based on your preference. The orzo will only take about 20 minutes or so. While the orzo is cooking, make the pesto (see below).

About 5-10 minutes before serving, add the chopped broccoli (if using) and the zucchini. Serve in a bowl topped with pesto and parmesan cheese.

Pistachio Pesto: My husband has a pine nut allergy and I LOVE pesto so naturally, when we first started dating I experimented with several different pine nut alternatives. It would have been a make or break it type of situation if nothing sufficed…but, I fell in love with this Pistachio Pesto and so did he!


  • Pistachios
  • Lemon and lemon zest
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Pecorino Romano

Blend the garlic and olive together in a food processor. Add the basil, parsley, and olive oil. Blend some more. Keep adding olive oil depending on the texture you like. Add pistachios and Pecorino and continue pulsing. Personally, I like when the pesto still has a bit of texture where the pistachios are not ground down entirely.  Add lemon juice to taste. I also like to add a bit of lemon zest for added vibrancy!

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