Pistou soup

Pistou soup

James Martin's French Adventure
Peter Cassidy

Fresh, simple and tasty, this soup can be made with any vegetables you like – just be careful not to overcook them, so they retain their colour.


Quantity Ingredient
10 plum tomatoes
100g frozen broad beans
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 leek, cut into small dice
1 medium carrot, cut into small dice
1 courgette, cut into small dice
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
75g green beans, topped and tailed and cut into 3cm lengths
75g spaghetti
100g frozen peas
400g tin haricot beans, drained and rinsed
200g bacon lardons
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the pistou

Quantity Ingredient
60g basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled but left whole
75g freshly grated parmesan
100ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cut a small cross into the base of each tomato and place in a heatproof bowl. Add boiling water to cover and leave for 2–3 minutes until the tomato skins start to peel away. Drain, then refresh under cold water and peel completely. Cut in half, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Set one of the tomatoes aside and dice the rest.
  2. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the broad beans and blanch for 1 minute. Drain, refresh under cold water and shake dry. Peel and discard the outer shell. Set the beans aside.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and fry the onion, garlic, leek, carrot, courgette and potatoes for 5 minutes. Add the green beans, along with enough water to cover, and bring to the boil.
  4. Wrap the spaghetti in a clean tea towel and roll it across the edge of a worktop, pressing backwards and forwards to break it into small pieces. Add to the soup with the diced tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes to cook the pasta. Add the peas, broad beans and haricot beans and heat through for 4 minutes.
  5. While the soup is cooking, make the pistou. Place all the ingredients in a food processor, along with the reserved tomato, and blend to a pesto-like texture.
  6. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the bacon lardons until crisp.
  7. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the lardons and season well. Ladle into bowls, add a spoonful of pesto and serve straightaway.
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