TO DRINK: A lightly wooded Chardonnay will stand up to the richness of the beans
Soup au pistou
- 100g dried white beans (cannellini or haricot), soaked overnight
- 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 bouquet garni of bay leaves, thyme and parsley stalks
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2L water + 1L extra
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 leek, washed and finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 150g green beans, topped, tailed and chopped
- 5 baby marrows, chopped
- 50g fresh basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 ripe tomato, skinned and chopped
- 100g Parmesan, grated
- 60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
Drain the beans and heat half of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, bouquet garni and onion and gently fry for 5 minutes until lightly golden.
Add the drained beans and 2L of water. Bring to the boil, cover and leave to simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Season and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan. Add the leek and carrots and gently fry for 5 minutes until soft. Remove the bouquet garni from the beans and cooking liquid and add to the saucepan. Add the tomatoes, potatoes and another 1L of water. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the green beans and baby marrows and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
For the pistou, blend the basil and garlic together in a food processor. Add the tomato and cheese and, with the motor running, gradually add the olive oil.
Serve the soup hot with a dollop of pistou.
For a quicker version, substitute the dried beans with 1 tin of drained cannellini beans.