You’ve picked the last of summer’s sweet basil and whizzed it into that bright green, fragrant magical spread: pesto. You even froze some for later didn’t you? Time to let some of it thaw on the bench while you prepare the perfect cool weather accompaniment to that savory summer sauce. The ubiquitous Provencal wonder soup, pistou. Here’s my version, which even my young children complimented.
- A few glugs olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- Tops of celery (stalk and leaves) or 1 stalk, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 3 potatoes, chopped
- 5 cups stock or water
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tomato, chopped (Roma if you have it)
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh or frozen yellow wax beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 nest Asian cellophane noodles (about 2 ozs.)
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
Chop all the vegetables and get all the other ingredients ready. Mise en place if you please. Soak the cellophane noodles in cold water. Warm the olive oil in a big soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery and let sweat for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and cook another 5 minutes or so. Add the thyme and bay leaf and a dash of salt and pepper. You don’t even need to take fresh thyme off the stems; you can fish them out later. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat and add the tomato and all the beans and the noodles, which you may want to cut into smaller pieces with the help of some kitchen shears. Add at least one teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Simmer the soup for about 20 minutes on a low heat. Taste to check the seasoning. Adjust. Be sure all the vegetables are cooked before serving with a generous spoonful of that precious pesto and some grated Parmesan cheese if you like. Fish out the bay leaf and thyme stems.
I made the soup a day in advance and I am sure that it was even better than if I had served it right away.
By substituting cellphone noodles that are made of bean and or potato starch do you eliminate the gluten from this recipe, but you also end up with a soup that sits well and can be reheated without the traditional spaghetti noodles becoming mushy as they absorb more and more of the broth.