Soupe au pistou

Soupe au pistou

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
8-10

The typical soup of Provence in southern France in which basil is an essential ingredient. This soup is rather similar to the Italian minestrone, with its combination of vegetables and pasta. The basil enrichment added at the end is not too distant from the sauce pesto alla Genovese which is not really surprising, given the proximity of Provence and Italy and their respective histories.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 large onions, chopped
125-250ml olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra
200g dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
500g green beans, cut into short lengths
500g zucchini, diced
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 potatoes, diced
2 litres water
freshly ground black pepper
200g vermicelli
5 garlic cloves
30g fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
5 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
salt

Method

  1. Cook onions in 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan until soft. Add remaining vegetables and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until white beans are almost tender. Add vermicelli and continue cooking until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, pound the garlic and basil to a paste in a large mortar or bowl. Slowly add about 125 ml remaining oil, alternating with cheese. Add additional oil to obtain a thick but pouring consistency. Taste soup and adjust seasoning.
  3. Pour basil mixture into soup, or offer it separately. Pass around a bowl of additional parmesan if desired.
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