Soupe Au Pistou

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I’ve made lots of vegetable soups but never “soupe au pistou”. After looking over half a dozen recipes, I made my version for supper tonight.

I made stock from Jennifer Perillo’s “60-minute chicken stock” (Food52). The fresh herbs came from my garden, including the basil for my pesto, and I used organic produce.

Not a big fan of licorice-tasting food or booze, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor from the fennel in my soup base.

Serves 6

Soup base:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 1 head of fennel, cored and chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4-6 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (any fresh thyme)
  • 1 handful of flat-leaved parsley
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

1. Tie and thyme and parsley into a bouquet garni and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion, celery, fennel, carrot, tomato and garlic. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring a few times.

3. Add the bouquet garni and the stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook for 15 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and strain stock, reserving broth and the vegetables.

4. Puree reserved vegetables in processor. Stir into broth to finish the soup base. Correct seasoning.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • 1 14.5 oz can of chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup piccolini “little wheels” or other mini pasta (uncooked)
  • 1 cup frozen green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons homemade basil pesto

1. Using the same large pot, heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic, carrot celery and thyme for 5 minutes. Correct seasoning. Add the soup base, tomatoes, beans, saffron and pasta.

2. Lower heat and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the green beans and allow them to “cook” for 5 minutes before serving.

3. Top each serving of “soupe” with a generous spoonful of pesto.

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5 Responses to Soupe Au Pistou

  1. Cathy October 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    I love the veg soup base. I can’t wait to try this soup if it ever actually feels like soup weather again. Hot and bothered in DC, xoCathy

  2. lizthechef October 1, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    Likewise, it is warm and humid in San Diego, but fall recipes are on my mind!

  3. Lynda October 3, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    This sounds like a lovely soup for a fall day. I love fennel, and enjoy how its anise flavor mellows when cooked.

    • lizthechef October 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

      I was slow to appreciate fennel and am still struggling with raw fennel – works well in this recipe, I think. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Kelsey October 3, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    Fun! I agree, not a big fennel fan here, but there is a place for it sometimes…

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