Beans, potato, zucchini, and tomato soup, flavoured with a basil and garlic condiment.
This soup, which is almost a meal in itself, is the pride of Provence. The type of beans and vegetables used may vary, but a mixture of crushed basil, garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, called «pistou» [pr. pees-TOO] is always added, uncooked, as a condiment. The basil mixture was traditionally crushed with a mortar and pestle, hence the name «pistou», meaning «crushed», which is similar to the nearby, and perhaps more well known Ligurian «pesto». Nowadays a food processor is used instead of a mortar and pestle.
Before you start
If fresh beans are not available, you may substitute them with canned beans (1 cup of canned beans corresponds to about 500 g. of fresh beans). The result will not be the same, but you'll save the shelling time!
- Shell the romano beans and put the beans in a pot. Cover with salted water and start to cook while preparing the other vegetables (about 30 min).
- Prepare the vegetables: trim and discard the ends of the green beans, then cut the green beans into 4 pieces; coarsely dice the tomatoes; peel the potatoes, then cut them into 1-1,5 cm pieces; trim and discard the ends of the zucchini, keeping them whole; finely chop the onion and leek.
- Heat the canola oil in a pot over medium heat. Sweat the onion and leek 2-3 min, with stirring. Add the tomatoes. Cook 3 min, then add the green beans, potatoes, and zucchini. Sauté 4-5 min, with stirring. Add the cooked romano beans with their cooking water (if using canned beans, drain them and rinse), then generously cover the vegetables with boiling water. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper, then cover and cook over low heat about 1 hour. Stir the soup occasionally using a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot.
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the pistou. Remove and discard the basil stalks, clean the leaves using a wet towel, then pat them dry between 2 paper towels. Peel the garlic cloves. Put the leaves and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Add one tablespoon of the olive oil, then mix. Add the remaining oil and mix until a paste is obtained. Add salt to taste.
- When the soup is ready, mash the zucchini, using a fork : the soup will be smoother. Add a little water if the soup is not liquid enough to cook the pasta. Add the pasta, then cook over low heat until al dente, about 7 min. Serve the soup immediately, since the pasta will swell and absorb more of the broth.
- All of the pistou may be added to the soup, or half to the soup and half served on the side. Serve the grated Parmesan on the side.
This soup keeps up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 4 months in the freezer. The pasta should not be added before refrigerating or freezing, but later when the soup is reheated.
Nutrition Facts Table
per 1 serving (330g)
% Daily Value
Servings of Canada's Food Guide1 serving of this recipe is equivalent to :
|Vegetables and Fruits :||2 ½||servings|
|Grain Products :||½||serving|
|Milk and Alternatives :||0||serving|
|Meat and Alternatives :||¼||serving|
ClaimsThis recipe is :
- Free :
- Added Sugar, Trans Fat
- Low :
- Cholesterol, Saturated Fat
- Source of :
- Calcium, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Zinc
- Good source of :
- Copper, Iron, Niacin, Phosphorus, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E
- Excellent source of :
- Fibre, Folacin, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K
- Diet-related health claims :
|Meat and Alternatives||½|