It's my favorite time of year at the market, September brings with it the best of both summer and autumn and I want one of everything every time I visit my favorite farmer at Marché Ornano.
Jean-Michel nearly brought me to tears of joy when I saw his most recent harvest that included kale (he's currently growing five varieties), squash, melons, rhubarb, leeks, zucchini, tomatoes, beans, and pretty much anything you could ever want.
So how does one celebrate this cornucopia of farm fresh veggies? By making a Soupe au Pistou, of course. Vegetables that span the course of late summer and early autumn unite in this simple soup, stewing together to make their own broth that provides the perfect base for a garlic and basil packed pistou.
Everything (almost) is in season, so have fun with this easy and flexible recipe- add carrots, celery, even fennel! The days are getting shorter and the end of summer is upon us- take advantage of these last days of the season by crushing all the first fallen autumn leaves on your way home to a steaming bowl of Pistou Soup.
End-of-Summer Pistou Soup / Soupe au Pistou
For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup (300 grams) beans (dried or fresh) of your choice
1 cup (200 grams) green beans
2 large potatoes
3 large tomatoes
1 1/2 cup (250 grams) elbow pasta
2 teaspoons Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
Salt & Pepper
For the Pistou:
1 clove garlic
1 pinch sea salt
2 cups (1 bunch) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup (160 ml) olive oil
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
If using dried beans, soak overnight and then cook in boiling water for 1 hour before using. In a dutch oven or crock pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onions and leeks and cook until onions are translucent 3-5 minutes. Add potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, and a dash of salt and pepper ad cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep ingredients from sticking to the pot. Add zucchini and green beans and cook 5 minutes then add tomatoes and beans, cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and add enough water to submerge the veggies. Stir in pasta and bring to a boil. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until pasta is done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While waiting for pasta to cook, prepare your pistou. Using a mortar and pestle (or a food processor) mash together garlic with a pinch of sea salt. Add chopped basil leaves, pounding or pulsing until you have a rough paste, smooth but not liquid. Slowly add olive oil while pounding/pulsing until combined. Stir in cheese and season with salt to taste.
Serve soup immediately, topped with a spoonful of pistou and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.