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But Without the Nuts: Pistou Soup

Pistou Soup

It’s been quiet here at Kitchenist for the past week, and for that I apologize. It’s really December’s fault- instead of welcoming me with open arms, she decided to hit me where it hurts: right in my sinuses.

For the past couple days I’ve been battling with an achey head, sore throat and runny nose, and it hasn’t been fun. Focusing all the energy I can muster on my Holiday Gift Guide at Kitchenisms has left little time for cooking, or eating. Thankfully for both you and me, I managed to pull myself out of my ginger, honey and lemon-induced stupor to make a veggie-packed dinner the other day: pistou soup.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of soup when I’m feeling under the weather. So when I saw this recipe in my new Jamie Magazine Recipe Yearbook, and saw that it was full to bursting with veggies, beans and pasta, I felt a little better already. The kicker on this otherwise lovely-but-simple vegetable soup is a dollop of fresh pistou sauce, a French cousin to pesto. Here’s how my explanation to Andrew went:

“What are you making?”







“It’s like pesto, but without the nuts.”

Jamie claims that this soup feeds four, but I’m sure that’s a mistake. Possibly he meant that the recipe feeds four small families, or four pro wrestlers, but seriously- this overflowed my Dutch oven, and I had to remove half of it to another pot. As such, I’ve played around with the quantities slightly, but still expect this to make a meal.

Pistou Soup

  • Pistou Soup
  • adapted from the Jamie Magazine Recipe Yearbook
  • serves 4-6
  • Soup
    3 Tbs. olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 yellow onion, finely chopped
    2 leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)
    2 bay leaves
    2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
    2 carrots, chopped
    2 celery sticks, chopped
    1 x 400g can borlotti beans
    1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
    85g ditalini, farfallini or other very small pasta shape
    50 g chopped kale (stems discarded)
    sea salt and black pepper

    50g basil, stems discarded
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    handful grated parmesan cheese
    2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a very large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the garlic, onions and leeks, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until very soft and translucent.

    2. Add all other ingredients, except for the pasta, kale and salt/pepper. Pour in enough water or vegetable stock to cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20-25 minutes. You will need to keep adding water/stock occasionally.

    3. When the veg are tender, add the pasta and kale and cook for a further 10-12 minutes, until they’re also cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and remove the soup from the heat; let it cool slightly while you make the pistou.

    4. For the pistou, simply throw everything but the olive oil into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the olive oil in a steady drizzle until the sauce reaches a consistency you like. (You can also make the pistou with a mortar and pestle.)

    5. Serve the soup with a dollop of pistou on top, and a bit more parmesan cheese on the side, if you like.


  1. Sian says:

    I made pistou a couple of weeks ago (following a recipe from the Guardian) when I had a cold-great minds think alike. It certainly was just what the doctor ordered-ho ho!

  2. sarah says:

    And what will you do with the leftover pistou? I can think of lots of ideas, but which will you use? Pasta, sandwiches, other soups, dip….

  3. Ele says:

    Sian- It definitely worked for me- I wonder if it’s something to do with the garlic? Isn’t garlic supposed to be packed with antioxidents, or something like that?

    Sarah- Actually, I like to drizzle pesto/pistou on pizza when I have it around. I did that on Friday, but it was a bit stupid of me really – we still had lots of leftover soup, which is now pistou-less!

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