Soup au Pistou
A light and bright French soup inspired by Italian pesto.
Ingredients 1 pound dried flageolet beans, soaked for at least 4 hours, or overnight, and then drained 1/4 cup olive oil 4 medium onions, chopped 2 medium leeks, chopped 4 stalks celery, diced 12 cups water 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and diced. 4 medium yellow potatoes, chopped 1/4 pound / 4 oz. stellette pasta, or any small pasta. 3 zucchini, chopped 1/2 cup chard stems, finely chopped 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste Pistou 1 tbsp. crushed garlic 3/4 tsp. fine grain sea salt 4 1/2 cups basil leaves, finely chopped 1 tomato (from above), chopped 1/4 cup olive oil 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Directions 1. In large stew pot, heat oil and add onions, leeks, and celery. Saute for 5 minutes, adding beans and 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Set one tomato aside. Add remaining tomatoes, chopped, to your stew pot. Add potatoes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until beans are tender. Add pasta, simmering for 5 minutes.
4. Add zucchini and chard stems, simmer for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in salt to taste.
5. Let soup simmer while you make the Pistou. Using a food processor or mortar-and-pestle, mash garlic and salt into a paste. Add basil one handful at a time, crushing in with garlic until smooth. Add tomatoes, and slowly stir in olive oil to retain a smooth pesto consistency. Stir in cheese. Serve soup with a heaping spoon of pistou on top.
Sommelier Suggestion: Pair with a red wine, or sweet rosé from Provence.