Pistou soup


French pistou sauce is like Italian pesto except has no pinenuts, and is a classic accompaniment to this rich veggie soup.

Fresh from the garden: potatoes, carrots, celery, zucchini, beans, basil, onion, garlic, bay
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe on jamieoliver.com
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Mixing bowls – 2 lge, 3 med
  • Colander
  • Medium stockpot
  • Measures – litre jug, ½ cup
  • Scales
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Serving bowls









  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 3 zucchini
  • A small handful green beans
  • 2 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 1 x 400g tin borlotti beans
  • ½ cup small macaroni

Pistou sauce:

  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 6 sprigs of fresh basil
  • 60g parmesan or grana padano
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

What to do:

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, then trim, clean and slice the leeks.
  2. Wash the potatoes, carrots, celery and zucchini, then chop them all into small cubes by slicing lengthways first and then into dice (peeling the carrots but not potatoes).
  3. Wash the beans and drain them, then tail them and chop into 1cm lengths.
  4. Wash the parsley, pat dry then pick the leaves and roughly chop.
  5. Pour a film of olive oil into a medium stockpot over a medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and leek for 5 minutes.
  6. Add all the rest of the chopped ingredients, the bay leaves and the tin of tomatoes.
  7. Drain and rinse the cannellini and borlotti beans then add them in.
  8. Cover with a litre of water, season and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender – check by piercing a piece of potato with a sharp knife.
  9. Add the macaroni and simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes until cooked, adding a little more water if the soup is too thick.
  10. Meanwhile, for the pistou sauce: Peel the garlic and add to a pestle and mortar. Sprinkle in some flaked salt then start to pound to break down.
  11. Wash the basil and spin it dry, then pick off the basil leaves and add to the garlic. Pound until puréed, then finely grate in the parmesan (weighing the piece first) and muddle in the extra virgin olive oil to make a paste.
  12. Divide the soup into bowls and serve with a dollop of pistou on the top.

Notes: What is pistou? Why do we weigh the parmesan before starting to grate it?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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