I have a real love/hate thing going with autumn. On the one hand, it means summer is over, and I have to wear a coat and gloves, and the hectic holidays and dreary days of winter are closing in. But on the other, the leaves are pretty, we can use our fireplace, and SOUP! I know most people don't get all that excited about soup, but if they had the right soup, I think they would. And, trust me, my mom's Pistou (that's french for "pesto") soup is the right soup. It's a light vegetarian soup, with a special pesto side that gives it a real kick in the broth. And it's got enough beans, veggies, and pasta in it to make for a hearty and very satisfying dinner (even after you've been out raking leaves all day). It's beyond delicious.
One year when I first moved to New York and was desperate for home cooking, I made my mom and dad make a huge batch of this, freeze it, and drive all the way from Michigan with it in the trunk. When they got here, the container they brought it in wouldn't fit in my freezer. It didn't turn out to be a problem, though- we ate it all in one weekend.
I'm not so dependent (or demanding) now that I have the recipe, and on a fall weekend, I love to gather up my veggies (including the things wilting in the crisper drawer and shoved to the back of the freezer), and whip up a huge batch myself. It's quick and easy to make (only about 10 minutes hands-on time) and it freezes surprisingly well, so I know I'll have delicious soup ready when I'm too busy with other things to make dinner. I like to serve (and by "serve" I mean "eat") it with a couple slices of crusty buttered rosemary toast. Yummmm. Nevermind - you win, fall. It's just a love/love thing.
What You Need:
For the soup:
1 potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 lg. can chopped tomatoes
1 can great northern or navy beans
salt and pepper
1 zucchini and/ or yellow squash, chopped into pieces
5 oz fresh green beans, cut into bite-size pieces, or 1/2 frozen package green beans
1/2 package small pasta shapes (we use broken up spaghettini, but rotelli, ditalini, etc. are good)
1/2 package frozen tiny peas
For the pesto:
1 small can tomato paste
1/4 cup of olive oil
big bunch of fresh basil
2-3 cloves of garlic (to taste, you can even add more)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
What You Do:
1. Put the potato, carrot, onion, tomatoes, beans, and salt and pepper (to taste) in a large soup pot. Cover with 5 cups water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Add zucchini or squash, green beans and peas, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add pasta and more water, as needed, and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.
3. Make the pesto: Combine the tomato paste, olive oil, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a blender or food processor, or use a hand blender in a bowl, like I do. Blend until well combined (make sure there aren't any huge clumps of garlic).
4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with a tablespoon of pesto (or more, if you don't have a hot date, and don't mind a little garlic breath), and a little Parmesan cheese or fresh basil. Enjoy the season.
6 hours ago