Posted on 14 January 2011 by

Soup au Pistou

soupe_au_pistouBy David Harbilas

This traditional French soup does not normally feature tomatoes, at least not in a prominent way.

The method my father used to make it, however, relied heavily on tomatoes, both in the base and the garnish.

The French use a simple basil pesto as a garnish to the soup, where my father used to make a similar type of paste with basil and tomato paste.

Here, I opt for a sun-dried tomato pesto, as it isn’t quite as bitter as a tomato paste.

Makes about ½ gallon of soup

  • 1 can of plum tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of green beans, cooked
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed saucepan cook the carrot, celery, and onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, white beans and stock and cook for 30-45 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Cool slightly and blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to the saucepan and keep warm.

To make the pesto, cover the sundried tomatoes with boiling water to rehydrate. Remove and place in a food processor with the cheese, basil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Blend the mixture, and with the motor running, drizzle in enough olive oil to make a paste. To serve, add the green beans at the end to just heat them through, then ladle into a bowl and garnish with a tablespoon of the pesto.

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