Soupe Au Pistou

This is a Provençal minestrone enriched at the end with pistou; basil, Parmesan and olive oil sauce. The recipe calls for freshly shelled white beans. Lacking those, soak dried beans overnight in cold water. The next morning drain them and set them to boil in water to cover with a pinch of salt. Lower the heat to a simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours until tender. Stir occasionally. Drain into a colander over another pot. Reserve the soaking water and use as part of the liquid called for in the recipe. If you make this a day ahead, add the pasta when you reheat.


  • 2 cups boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots peeled, cut lengthwise into quarters then into ½ inch chunks
  • 2 medium leeks, thoroughly cleaned, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 cup winter squash or pumpkin seeded, rind removed and diced (optional)
  • 1 cup very ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh, shelled white haricot, cannellini or pinto beans
  • 3 quarts / 12 cups boiling water (use the liquid from dried beans to make up a portion)
  • 2 cups small zucchini cut into ¼ inch rounds
  • 2 cups of the smallest green beans you can find, topped and tailed, strings removed and cut into 1/2 inch lengths.
  • 2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup A L’ Olivier Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese or Pecorino, grated + additional for passing at table
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper


Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • In a stockpot or Dutch oven heat the olive oil until fragrant then add the potatoes, carrots and leeks.
  • Stir to coat with oil and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato and the winter squash, if using. Sauté an additional 5 minutes. Add another drop or two of oil if needed
  • Add the shell beans to the pot.
  • Pour in the water. Bring to a quick boil, then lower to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  • When the time is up, bring the soup to a rapid boil again.
  • Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini and green beans.
  • Add the pasta and cook to package directions. Test the pasta, it may take a minute or two longer than calculated.
  • MAKE the PISTOU.
  • While the soup is on, put the basil and garlic and ¼ cup of the oil in the blender and pulse to chop everything up.
  • Let it run while you add the rest of the oil.
  • Turn the sauce into a bowl and stir in the grated cheese.
  • Stir the pistou into the soup.
  • Ladle the soup right from the pot, unless you happen to own a soup tureen, in which instance you will have pre-warmed it, before filling.
  • Pass grated cheese round. Crusty bread is mandatory.
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