This is the time of year when one’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share can be at its most bountiful. And this is when a Pistou Soup can be the most useful.
Like so many soups, it is quite flexible, allowing for maximal use of what is in season. Start with a basic recipe, and then add what you have. Increase the amount of each ingredient if the varieties are less than expansive, and transversely, decrease the amounts if the variety is plentiful.
First, you will roughly need: (And these should be chopped to desired size)
- 2 medium or 1 large onion
- 2 medium potatoes
- 2-3 carrots(depending on size)
- 1 cup or so of green beans
- 2-4 leeks (depending on size)
- 1 large tomato
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard (spinach can be substituted)
- 2 cups cooked beans of choice (I use navy beans)
- 1 or two zucchini(s) (depending on size)
Some like to add uncooked elbow macaroni for texture and interest.
Saute the onions and leeks in an olive oil and butter combination. The potatoes and carrots can also be sauteed if desired.
Add the sauteed mixture to 8 - 10 cups of boiling water (depending on pot size).
The hardest vegetables should be put it first, allowing for a longer cooking time (potatoes, carrots, etc), and the most tender (leafy greens, etc) last.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Then, in a blender, combine:
- 4 - 5 cloves of garlic (depending on the size and how much you like garlic)
- 1 cup (or so) basil leaves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓-½ cup Parmesan cheese
Blend thoroughly and add to soup.
This is a soup that very much needs to be personalized, adding more salt, pepper, garlic or parmesan cheese if too bland. (I tend to go heavy on all of them.) More water can be added if too thick or strong; and more vegetables if too thin and watery. And I don’t peel any of the vegetables (carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) in an attempt to retain nutrients.
Of course, one need not belong to a CSA. The Farmer’s Markets are bursting with produce, and are significantly more prevalent now than they were even a few years ago.