Pistou soup: version two

This is a la Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion and is very different from the one posted yesterday.


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1.5 litres cold water
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into half an inch dice
  • 2 leeks, white part only, finely sliced. Carefully wash first.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini or haricot beans
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 250g grean beans, sliced/diced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated gruyere


3 cloves garlic
1 cup loosely packed basil
3 tbsp best olive oil


The pistou is a matter of your technology. If pestle and mortar then the garlic and basil before the olive oil. If a blender of some sort, oil first.

In a large saucepan saute onion in oil until softened. Add tomato and saute for 5 minutes, then add water and bring to simmering point. Add potato, leek, carrot and cannelini beans and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add zucchini and green beans, simmer another 10 minutes. Season to taste, but remember it is the pistou that makes the taste.

Serve the soup in bowls and pass around the pistou and cheese. A teaspoon of the pistou might be about right. I heat ciabatta to have with this, sprinkling it with parmesan before putting it in the oven. That’s if I’m in Australia. You can’t get any decent Italian bread in Geneva – and that’s despite Italian being one of the official languages!


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