This is a soup I love to order in the summer, at a place near our house called Nice Matin. Pistou is essentially the french version of pesto, and turns an ordinary vegetable soup into an unforgettably aromatic and delicious meal. It really makes use of all the fresh produce out at the market and is totally vegetarian...without the sacrifice.
2 cups dry white or flageolet beans, soaked overnight
10 cups water
2 leeks, chopped into quarter pieces
2 carrots, chopped into quarter pieces
2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped in cubes
3 red potatoes, cubed
sml bunch green beans, cut into small pieces
1/4 c parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
6 cloves garlic
1/4 c fresh basil
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup olive oil
4 T parsley, chopped
In a large soup pot, bring the soaked beans and fresh water to a boil. Add all the vegetables and herbs, bring to a second boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for an hour. Meanwhile, make the pistou. For the pistou, put the garlic, basil, cheese, oil, and parsley in a cuisinart until you have a rich paste. Add the salt and pepper to taste in the soup, stir well, and continue simmering uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.
When ready, ladle the soup into big bowls and add a spoonful of the pistou just before serving. A warm baguette, some good butter...that's all you need.
I used to eat out a lot. Cooking was something to do once in a while...until the recession of 2008. Over the past few months, I've challenged myself to making meals for two within a twenty-dollar budget, give or take a truffle. The surprise is that I've been amazed at how healthy, and elegant these meals can be. Many of the recipes are interpretations of dishes from favorite restaurants and they've all been tested in my kitchen (you can see the results in my quickie cellphone photos near each dish.)
With basic skills you should be able to prepare anything listed. Of course, as I'm finding out, each attempt gets more delicious every time. So, I'd love to hear your comments, and will continue to share my thoughts and updates with you ;-) thanks & happy cooking!