French vegetable soup, or soup au pistou, is just the thing to pull you our of winter. It’s warming but has a light, fresh feel, unlike hearty winter soups.
My mom spent Easter in Paris, an 80th birthday gift from all of us kids and proof that you needn’t outgrow your sense of adventure.
For much of her life mom has considered France a spiritual home of sorts. Perhaps it’s a thread of ancestry – my grandfather’s roots are in the Poitou, a region in Western France. Whatever the pull, more than one French recipe has made its way onto our family favourites list.
Pistou (Tomato Pesto):
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 12 large basil leaves
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup good olive oil
- Place the garlic, tomato paste, basil, and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and puree.
- With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil down the feed tube to make a paste.
*Can substitute 2 Tbsp. store bought pesto and ½ Tbsp. tomato paste).
French Vegetable Soup (Soup au pistou)Course: Soups, VegetarianDifficulty: Easy
This is a soup to pull you out of winter. It’s warming but has a light, fresh feel, unlike hearty winter soups.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts (or additional onion)
1 ½ cups diced unpeeled red potatoes
1 ½ cups diced carrots
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ tsp. saffron threads
¼ lb green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 ounces spaghetti, broken in pieces
2 Tbsp. pistou (recipe above)*
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- Heat oil in a large stockpot, add the onions, and saute over low heat until the onions are translucent.
- Add the leeks, potatoes, carrots and saute over medium heat for another 5 minutes.
- Add the stock and saffron, bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
- Add the green beans and spaghetti, bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 more minutes.
- When ready to serve, whisk in pesto and tomato paste. Season with salt & pepper.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and a dollop of pistou.