Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Soup Au Pistou

Soupe Au Pistou Recipe

Soupe Au Pistou is a savory one pot meal and a staple in Provencal kitchens.  It's believed to have been invented by Italian railway workers laying track in the hills above Nice.  The Italian influence is obvious - the basis for this soup is similar to minestrone and the "pistou" is basically "pesto" without pine nuts. 

All I can say is... as I was adjusting the seasonings I encountered a pot of chunky soup brimming with clean flavor and texture emanating from a potpourri of vegetables. Then after topping each bowl with a lush garlic-basil paste and a blast of shredded Gouda - I tasted something remarkable. {Like all soups, the flavor expands after spending the night in the refrigerator.  If you can, make this a day in advance.} 

Soup Au Pistou

3 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, quartered, cored and chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
8 oz new baby potatoes, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 quarts vegetable broth {I recommend having a little more on hand in case you feel you need more}
1 sprig of thyme
2 c cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 c kidney beans. rinsed and drained
6 oz fresh green beans, cut into 1" pieces
2 oz uncooked spaghetti, broken into 1" pieces
1 c + 2/3 c freshly grated Gouda cheese {not smoked Gouda}
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- and for the pistou
6 large garlic cloves
leaves from a small bunch of basil
6 T olive oil

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, fennel and zucchini and cook for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, stock and thyme. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer low for 15 minutes.

Add the cannellini beans and kidney beans and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Taste and season. Add the green beans and spaghetti and cook for about 10 minutes more, covered, until the pasta is tender. Remove from heat and let stand covered - for a few hours if you have the time or, better yet, overnight in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to serve the soup, make your pistou by placing all ingredients in a food processor and processing until you have a uniform paste. To serve: reheat the soup, divide soup among 6 bowls and top with pistou and cheese.

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Source:  House Beautiful

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