Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Provencal Vegetable Soup with Pistou

This is a simple vegetable soup from Provencal region of France.It is a simple blend of vegetables -seasonal to be exact- and pasta.Now there are several versions for this some with just vegetables,some with beans etc.This version with pasta is very simple yet luxurious as it uses no spices apart from pepper but has secret ingredient of saffron in it.This soup -any version-is normally served with Pistou -a pesto like blend -and is also known as Soupe au Pistou.

Onion: 1 big
Carrot: 1 big
Potato: 1 big
Leeks: 1 thick
Green Beans: 10-12

Small Soup Paste/Macaroni/Spaghetti : 1/4 cup
Veg Broth:3 cups+

Saffron: 2 pinches or 1 tsp

Chop onion finely.Peel and chop carrot and potato and beans into bite sized cubes.You can leave the peel as such if you like.Chop the white part of leek finely.The leeks have sand even inside them and so wash till clean before and after cutting.Also the green part of the leek is to be discarded and light green can be included.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot or pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan.Add chopped onions and saute on low-medium heat till transparent.Add the chopped carrots,potatoes and leeks and little salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes till everything mixes well and starts to cook.Add vegetable broth(homemade or storebought) and pinches of saffron and let it simmer till done for about 15-20 minutes partially covered.Add the chopped beans and pasta(I used macaroni) and let it simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until the pasta cooks and the soup thickens.Adjust the salt and pepper.Serve as such topped with parmesan cheese and pistou or add spoonful of pistou in each bowl and also serve pistou as a side.

Tomato Paste: 2tbsp
Basil leaves: around 15
Parmesan Cheese:2 tbsp
Garlic :1 clove
Olive oil: tbsp

Blend all the ingredients together.The ingredients can be adjusted as per taste and you can also checkout the original recipe by Ina Garten here .Mix spoonfuls into the soup and also serve alongside.This is a pesto like preparation or we can say it is 'French Pesto made with tomato and basil'.

I served soup with pistou alongside and also mixed a little in a bowl and also without pistou.All the ways it is delicious.The saffron definitely adds flavour to the soup and enhances it.This provencal vegetable soup with pistou is my entry to No Croutons Required hosted this time by Lisa and the current theme is Vegetable Soup.


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