Hearty Vegetable Soup with Pesto

Happy 2011! It's a new year, I suppose this means it is time to eat a little healthier.
                                                      Hearty Vegetable Soup with Pesto

2 leeks, sliced, white parts only
2 pinches of saffron
2 tbs olive oil 
12oz fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1in pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 small zucchini, sliced 
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 small yellow potatoes, cut into 1 in pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
2 bay leaves 
1 qt vegetable broth
4 cups water
2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
pesto, homemade or store-bought  

Warm oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat; add the leeks and saffron and cook for about 10
minutes. Add the vegetables, garlic and spices, sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetable just begin to
soften. Add the broth and water, season with salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the beans and heat for about 5 to 7 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and add a dollop of pesto onto each serving. 

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