Soupe au pistou

Matthew Fort cooks a delicious summer soup using tomato and basil-packed pistou, the Niçoise version of pesto
By Matthew Fort
Soupe au pistou
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus soaking overnight
  • Effort: easy


For the soup

  • 110 g dried white haricot beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 litres water
  • 45 g broken vermicelli noodles
  • 1 bunches spring onions
  • 110 g French beans, tailed and cut in half
  • pinches saffron
  • 1 bunches each of thyme, rosemary and marjoram

For the pistou

  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 25 g parmesan, grated
  • extra virgin olive oil


1. For the soup: place the soaked haricot beans in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. Cook until soft, then drain and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and leeks and lightly fry until soft. Stir in the carrots and potatoes and pour over the water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the vermicelli, spring onions, French beans. haricot beans and saffron, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the herbs to the soup and leave to infuse for 10 minutes or so, then remove from the soup.

4. For the pistou: in a food processor, blend together the garlic, tomato purée, basil and parmesan. Drizzle in a little olive oil while the blades are still whirring. Keep drizzling olive oil into the mixture until it becomes a smooth paste.

5. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and drizzle over a little olive oil over the surface. Serve the pistou separately in a bowl for people to help themselves to as much or as little as they like.

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