Recipe for soupe au pistou
The Rhode Island garden gods (you've never heard of them?) have decreed that no tender herbs may be planted before Memorial Day weekend, so last Saturday we finally got our basil, parsley and dill into the ground. (Believe me, we've tried planting early, and the gods have punished us with flash floods and unseasonable frost. We've learned our lesson.) The basil, a bit leggy, needed to be pinched back, and the aroma on my fingertips made me think of pistou, the French version of pesto, and this vegetable-rich soup. If you use your own homemade pistou (pesto without the cheese), the soup will be vegan. Finding no more of last summer's pesto in my freezer, I used store-bought pesto, which has a bit of parmesan cheese, making the soup a vegetarian delight.
Soupe au pistou
Inspired by a recipe in The Soup Bible, this recipe serves 6.
1 zucchini, diced
1 Yukon Gold or red-skinned potato, diced (do not peel)
1 carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
8 oz canned chopped tomatoes
5 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/4 cup green peas (I use frozen peas)
1/2 cup orzo or other small pasta
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
6 Tbsp pesto or pistou, store-bought or homemade
In a small Dutch oven or stock pot, add the zucchini, potato, carrot, onion, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
Stir in the green beans, peas, and orzo. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the orzo is cooked. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls, and top each with a tablespoon of pesto/pistou. Encourage your guests to stir the pesto into the soup while the soup is hot. Serve with slices of crusty bread.