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RECIPE: Soupe Au Pistou

Use up your last basil make pistou French versipesbig batch soup. | Courtesy Terry Boyd

Use up your last basil to make pistou, the French version of pesto, and a big batch of soup. | Courtesy Terry Boyd

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Updated: May 9, 2012 9:50AM



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 celery rib, sliced

1 leek, white and pale green part only, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 carrots, sliced

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or

1/2 teaspoon dried)

5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped

1 cup fresh green beans, cut into


1/2 -inch pieces

1/2 cup cooked white beans (such as canned cannellini)

1/2 cup cooked red beans (such as canned kidney beans)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup uncooked small pasta (shells, ditalini, etc.)


3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped


1/4 teaspoon salt2

1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

1/3 cup freshly grated good quality Parmesan or Pecorino Romano

6 tablespoons good quality olive oil

Heat heavy stockpot over medium flame. Add olive oil and butter and swirl to combine as butter melts. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. You want to sweat the aromatics, not brown them; reduce heat, if necessary. Add leek and carrots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

Add broth, tomatoes and all beans. Season generously with pepper; taste and add salt sparingly, if needed. Raise heat to high and bring soup to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta. When pasta is about 2/3 done, drain and add to soup to finish cooking. This will allow it to impart some (but not all) of its starch to soup, thickening broth slightly. It also will allow pasta to take on soup’s flavors.

While soup simmers, make the pistou: Combine garlic, salt, basil and Parmesan in bowl of food processor. Pulse several times. You may need to scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. (You can make pistou a day or two ahead and refrigerate in covered container; bring to room temperature while soup cooks.)

Pour oil over basil mixture and run food processor until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed; you want pistou to still have some texture to it. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle soup into bowls and spoon generous dollops of pistou in center. Guests should stir pistou into soup before eating. Serve with crusty baguette.

Terry Boyd, Blue Kitchen

Nutrition facts per serving: 318 calories, 20 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 27 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugars, 11 g protein, 717 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

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