Provençal Vegetable Soup with Garlic-Basil Paste (Soupe au Pistou)

Soupe au Pistou (Provençal Vegetable Soup with Pistou)
Pistou, the Provençal cousin of pesto, is stirred into this summer vegetable soup just before serving. See the recipe for Soupe au Pistou »Todd Coleman

Pistou, the Provençal cousin of pesto, is stirred into this summer vegetable soup just before serving. This recipe first appeared in SAVEUR issue #140, along with Laura Schenone's story Glorious Pesto. To make this recipe vegetarian: omit the pancetta and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Provençal Vegetable Soup with Garlic-Basil Paste (Soupe au Pistou)
Pistou, the Provençal cousin of pesto, is stirred into this summer vegetable soup just before serving.
Yield: serves 8-10

For the Pistou

  • 4 cups packed basil
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, cored

For the Soup

  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz. pancetta, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 12 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 14 head Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 7 whole peeled canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 13 cup broken dried spaghetti
  • 1 (15-oz.) can cannellini beans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Make the pistou: Process basil, parmesan, oil, salt, garlic, and tomato in a food processor until finely ground. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add pancetta and cook, stirring often, until fat has rendered, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and onions, reduce heat to medium; cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 12–15 minutes. Add zucchini and cabbage; cook, covered, until wilted, 3–5 minutes. Add stock and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Mash half the beans with a fork; add to soup along with whole beans—cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls; serve with pistou dolloped on top.

Pairing Note: L'Esprit de Sainte Marguerite 2010, a grenache-syrah rose from Cotes de Provence, has a dry finish that pairs well with this summer soup.