Thursday, January 14

Warm Sunday Soup

Want a great farmhouse soup this weekend? Try this delicious vegetable soup with pistou. Lovely for the whole family or your next casual dinner party.

Soupe Au Pistou
2 quarts boiling water
1 fresh bouquet garni: parsley, thyme, celery and bay leaf, tied together
8 oz pumpkin, marrow, squash, or sweet potato, seeded, peeled, and cubed
6 ½ oz fresh coco beans or equivalent
2 carrots, sliced
2 onions, sliced
6 ½ oz small potatoes, quartered
6 ½ oz green beans, such as haricot or runner beans, cut into 4-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, sliced
A handful of broken spaghetti, vermicelli, or short macaroni
2 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and cubed
Crusty bread, to serve

1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 young garlic cloves, chopped
A handful of fresh basil leaves and basil buds, torn
2 oz Parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
1 oz tome de chèvre (hard goat cheese), grated
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Serves 4-6

Pour the boiling water into a large soup pan. Add the bouquet garni, pumpkin, coco beans, carrots, onions, and potatoes, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a moderate simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add the green beans, zucchini, pasta, and tomatoes. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, until the vegetables and pasta are soft. Meanwhile, make the pistou. Put the salt, pepper, garlic, and basil into a mortar and pound to a paste with a pestle. Add some of the cheese and a splash of the olive oil, and pound until a stiff paste forms. Continue adding the remaining cheese and oil, pounding each addition. The final paste should be thick and rich. (note: pistou can also be made in a small food processor). Clean the pestle and place it back in the sauce in the mortar at the center of the table: a dramatic presentation. Ladle the soup into big, individual bowls and let everyone stir in their own pistou as they eat. Serve with crusty bread and woody Chardonnay. Bon Appétit!

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