Pistou soup

Adapted from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pistou_soup_99507

The French and Italians both claim this wholesome and delicious peasant soup as their own. Raymond Blanc shows you how to make his version.


For the pesto

For the soup

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped into 1cm/½in dice
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped into 1cm/½in dice
  • ½ celery stalk, chopped into 1cm/½in slices
  • 1 small courgette, chopped into 1cm/½in dice
  • ½ small bulb fennel, chopped into 1cm/½in dice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 700ml/1¼ pints boiling water
  • 4 tbsp fresh peas (optional)
  • 120g/4½oz broad beans (optional)
  • 1 medium tomato, skin on and diced

To finish the dish

  • 50g/2oz pesto
  • 40g/3½oz grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • large handful croutons or toasted garlic baguette

Preparation method

  1. For the pesto, blanch the basil in boiling water for a few seconds, then refresh in cold water and drain. (This prevents the basil discolouring.)
  2. Blend the basil and remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender to a paste.
  3. Spoon the pesto in into a jar, cover and chill in the fridge.
  4. For the soup, heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion, carrot, celery, courgette and fennel for three minutes
  5. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the boiling water, peas and broad beans and boil rapidly for 3-4 minutes. (Using boiling water minimises the cooking time so preserving the vivid colours, fresh taste, textures and nutrients of the vegetables.)
  6. During the last minute of cooking, add the tomato, pesto and grated parmesan.
  7. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve in a warmed tureen with the croutons and extra grated parmesan alongside.

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