If somebody were to accuse me of merely ratatouille-ing a Soupe au Pistou recipe and spreading it on some toast I wouldn't argue. The fact is, I'm not crazy about thin watery soups with little macaronis floating around. I want my veggies to sing with flavor and bite back a little in texture. So I guess my Pistou recipe isn't really a soup, but you know what? I'll stand by it. Hope you enjoy! - whatsjohneating —whatsjohneating
Test Kitchen Notes
It’s my philosophy that having a flavorful bruschetta topping sitting in a Tupperware container in the fridge and a fresh loaf of French bread sitting on the countertop means that you are only a pitcher of drinks away from a cocktail party. This “soup” definitely fits squarely into my belief system. The medley of vegetables is cooked en masse just long enough for to the flavors to complement each other, but just short enough for each to keep its own identity. Topped with the pistou (or spread out underneath the veggies, which allows for it to be more evenly dispersed, although arguably not as pretty), each bite of the bruschetta presents a slightly different taste combination. - cheese1227 —The Editors
two bunches fresh basil
two handfuls fresh baby spinach
lots of salt (to taste, but mine is a salty taste)
half an onion
half a red pepper
one small zucchini
two ice cubes of homemade veggie stock (about 1/3 cup)
herbes de provence
great northern beans
one handful of baby spinach leaves
In This Recipe
I used a mortar and pestle to make the pistou, on the advice of a well-known Mediterranean slow food chef, not to identify anyone. I found it to be a miserable, time-consuming experience and wouldn't wish it upon anyone; the basil took forever to mash, and I had to pound each little piece of garlic into submission in order to get it smaller. I ended up just chopping everything into smaller pieces anyway and then transferring them to the mortar and pestle. However, it did produce an interesting thick, pasty pistou and was enjoyable to eat. But I'm pretty sure that you could produce something pretty similar in a food processor and it would be much more efficient. To make the pistou, you combine everything together and mash it up. If you choose to use a mortar and pestle, you can try pretending that you are a rustic from the south of France and you never measure anything. Maybe that will make the process more enjoyable.
I was a little more precise with my measurements in this half of the recipe because this is what I used, but you can use whatever quantities you like in yours. You can adjust the color profile easily by adding a little here or subtracting a little there. Either way, the spread is going to be beautiful! If using dry beans, soak in water overnight or for at least 3 hours before using. After soaking, rinse beans, pour into large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until beans are soft, but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
While beans are simmering peel and chop onions and carrots into medium, but equal sized pieces. Chop red pepper, zucchini into same-sized pieces. Remove any stems from the green and wax beans and cut on bias. Chop tomatoes into medium-sized cubes.
Add olive oil to large sauté pan or wok and turn to medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for one minute. Add carrots and sauté for three minutes. Add zucchini and red peppers, and green and wax beans and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add tomato, vegetable stock, and herbes de provence. Let simmer for 10 minutes, or until carrots are tender, but not mushy. I used homemade veggie stock that I had saved in my freezer in convenient little veggie ice cubes. I strongly disadvise using store-bought veggie stock as I have found it to be mostly terrible. I used a variation of the recipe found at Veganyumyum, a popular vegan recipe blog. Here is the link: http://veganyumyum.com/2008/10/homemade-vegetable-broth/
Add cooked great northern beans and baby spinach leaves and cook for one more minute until these ingredients are heated through. Remove from heat and spoon onto toasted Italian bread slices. Top with pistou and bit of grated parmesan or whole-milk yogurt and serve on little plates.