Roasted Vegetable Soup with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

I have a confession...I am terrible at making soup. Embarrassingly terrible. I have never successfully made a delicious soup. But this is closest I have gotten and I know exactly where I went hopefully you will have better luck than me at it.

It's not even that I completely ruined it, I just didn't make it WOW. The thing with me is, I don't like following recipes exactly. I kind of do what I feel and I have a feeling that is why soup just isn't working for me. I just don't know it enough to play with it like I play with other things. I could definitely use a soup cooking class if anyone has any recommendations online or in CT or MA.

Here's the recipe as it is in the William-Sonoma Cookbook Soup (there's over 100 more pages of delicious soup ideas that I can't wait to try - I will succeed!).

What You'll Need:
For the Soup
2 leeks - finely chopped (including the tender green parts)
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch (5cm) pieces
2 zucchini (courgettes), cut into 2-inch (5cm pieces)
2 Asian eggplants (slender aubergines), cut into 2 inch (5cm) pieces
2 large tomatoes, quartered
2 white rose or other all purpose potatoes, about 10 oz (315g) total weight, peeled and cut into 2 inch (5cm) pieces
4 1/2 cups (35 fl oz/1.1 l) chicken stock or prepared broth, or as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz/75g) drained oil packed sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and Pepper to taste

Don't let the amount of ingredients scare you away from this recipe, it actually ended up being reasonably affordable to make!
Step 1: Preheat the Oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).
Step 2: In a large, heavy roasting pan, combine the leeks, carrots, zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes and potatoes. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until the vegetables are well coated.

Step 3: Roast in the oven until the vegetables are softened, turning once to make sure they roast evenly and do not burn on one side. About 40 minutes total.

Probably my FAVORITE thing about this soup was the sun-dried tomato pesto! I LOVE little additions like this. For me, they really make a recipe. 
Step 5: While the vegetables are roasting, break out the's pesto time! In a food processor, with the motor running, add 1 clove garlic and process until minced, Turn off and add 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz/75g) drained oil packed sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, 2 tablespoons pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste. Process until a think past forms, adding more oil as needed. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 1/2 cup (4fl oz/125ml)

Step 6:  In the blender, in batches, combine the vegetables with 1/2 cup of the stock and puree until smooth. (It took me about 4 batches). 

Step 7: Transfer to a large saucepan over low heat, and stir in the remaining 3 1/2 cups stock, the basil and lemon juice. If needed, and a bit more stock for the desired consistency. Cook for 3 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

[I have to say, I was very impressed how much the lemon juice really enhanced the flavor immediately once added - I think I ended up putting a little extra in and that wasn't a bad thing!)

FINAL STEP: Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and add 1 tablespoon of the pesto to each bowl, serve immediately and enjoy!

I also make some roasted garlic crostinis to serve with some of the sun dried tomato pesto on top! This ended up being a HUGE hit! They were great for dipping in the soup :)

Makes 4-6 servings.

The cookbook notes that this recipe requires the use of a blender for pureeing, as a food processor or handheld blender will not fully break down the fibers in some of these vegetables.