La "soupe au pistou" reinterpreted
"La soupe au pistou", pronounce " la souuuupopiiiiistuu" (or pesto soup) is a traditional summer preparation in Provence. Like any traditional food each family has her secret recipe and variations are quite Infinite. Shall it include small pasta or king of cut spaghetti, or none; shall it be served with grated Parmigiano or grated Gruyere; how many types of bean should be used etc... Honestly I would say that each version tastes different but cannot be bad.
For me this soup is synonymous of summer, holidays, family gatherings... I can't even recall when I first it it, probably at an age whe it is not possible to recall. The recipe comes from my grand mother that probably came from her mother and so on, my mother is using the recipe. For us the pesto is made of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, gratted garlic, grated Parmigiano and ollive oil, a lot of olive oil. The soup consists in tomatoes (big, red ripe summer tomatoes), green beans, broad beans, zucchini, white beans and marbled beans. The beans are inserted by cooking time and it's cooked during a long time at low eat, and it is served with grated gruyere. No pasta... Though I recall some argument about that!
I've been preparing a lot of this soup even in Japan, though I can't find fresh marble beans and white beans, it is easy to have some dry, and broad beans are really easy to find, fresh and delicious. I adapt the recipe to circumstances and when I serve it as a single dish I usually add a few little pasta. I never use garlic, fresh or dry, so I took it off the recipe, and my husband doesn't like pine nuts nor cheese so usually I take them off as well... hum... well my pesto is just basil and olive oil and just as good! This time I was about to prepare one when I realized I had no white beans nor marble beans and I was not really in the mood to eat soup on my own, since my husband was out for dinner for work. So I decided to treat myself with a recipe that I just invented on the spot (missing ingredients are the best inspiration!) and went for a dry soupe au pistou. In a pan I diced a tomato and cooked it with olive oil, then added the green beans and the braod beans, finally I added the chopped basil leaves, salt pepper and olive oil and cooked under cover 15min. The served it with pine nuts, and finally topped with Parmigiano (which is totally optional). Perfectly delicious though a bit far from the original recipe but that is evolution!