Highlighting the fresh flavors of Provencal cuisine, soupe au pistou is a classic French soup composed of seasonal vegetables, creamy white beans and fragrant herbs.
Celebrating colorful, early-summer produce, this soup needed to be chock-full of vegetables and simple to prepare. Leeks, green beans, and zucchini all made the cut; we liked their summery flavors and varying shades of green.
Start to finish: 45 minutes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced ½ inch thick, and washed thoroughly
1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1/2 cup orecchiette
8 ounces haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
For the pistou: Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth, about 15 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. (Pistou can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.)
For the soup: Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add leek, celery, carrot, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and water and bring to simmer.
Stir in pasta and simmer until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in haricots verts and simmer until bright green but still crunchy, about 3 minutes. Stir in cannellini beans, zucchini, and tomato and simmer until pasta and vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, topping individual portions with pistou.