Wonderful, hearty soup.
a recipe inspired by finecooking.com
6 oz. orrechiette or small shells, or other small pasta
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2-1/2 cups diced (1/2 to 3/4 inch) butternut squash
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can kidney beans (white or red), or Roman beans, rinsed and drained (1-3/4 cups)
1 14-oz. can crushed peeled tomatoes with juice
Freshly ground black pepper
For the pesto:
1 packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh sage
1 medium clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, coarsely grated; more, finely grated, for serving
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Make the soup
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions until not quite al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the squash and stir to coat with the oil. Add the parsley, sage, garlic, and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is evenly distributed and looks slightly darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth, beans, and tomatoes. Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot, and simmer until the squash is barely tender, 13 to 15 minutes. Add the pasta and continue simmering until the squash and pasta are tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Make the pesto and serve
Put the parsley, sage, garlic, and coarsely grated cheese in a food processor. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and drizzle with the oil. Pulse until finely chopped, adding more oil if necessary to give it consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a bowl.
Thin the soup with water if desired and add 1/4 tsp. pepper. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Divide among soup bowls and spoon 1 to 2 Tbsp pesto on top of each serving. Pass the finely grated cheese at the table.