These instructions will help you make Pistou soup, a delicious and nutritious meal that is easy to freeze and store for a quick dinner on a cold winter night. This recipe is perfect for those with basic cooking knowledge. Total cooking time is one hour, however hands-on time is only 30 minutes. This recipe will make eight to ten meals and the total ingredient cost is about ten dollars.
Step 1: What to Buy
1 large onion
1/2 lb. fresh tomatoes
3/4 c. olive oil
3/4 c. red potatoes (unpeeled)
3/4 c. carrots
1/2 lb. fresh tomatoes
1/4 c. celery leaves
1 qt. chicken broth
1 qt. water
1 1/2 t. salt
pepper to taste
1-14 oz. can navy beans
1/2 lb. fresh green beans
1 medium zucchini
1 pork & chicken italian sausage (see image for details)
1/2 package fresh spinach
1 3-oz. package dried beef
1 c. whole-grain spaghetti noodles
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c. dried basil
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
It is important to buy nice, crisp vegetables for this recipe, however the variety of vegetable is unimportant (e.g. Roma tomatoes versus Heirloom tomatoes). I chose to use pork & chicken sausage in this recipe to make it healthier, but traditional pork sausage is a perfectly acceptable alternative. I also used canned navy beans to cut down on cost and prep time, but if you are trying to avoid canned food you can buy dried navy beans and let them simmer in water for 2 1/2 hours or until soft.
Step 2: Wash and Chop the Vegetables
Thoroughly wash all produce with cold water. Peel and chop the onion, tomatoes and carrots. Chop red potatoes, leek, zucchini and celery leaves. Slice the green beans horizontally.
NOTE: The exact dimensions of the chopped vegetables are not important, just be sure to cut them in small enough pieces that they will cook completely (no larger than 2 inch cubes)
Step 3: Saute Onion and Tomato in Olive Oil
In a large soup kettle, saut the onion in 1/4 c. of the olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Step 4: Addition of Broth
Add carrots, leek, red potatoes, celery leaves, and salt and pepper to the soup kettle. Pour water and chicken broth into the pot and bring to a boil. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 5: Add Navy Beans
Carefully open the can of navy beans and slowly pour the beans and liquid into the pot.
Step 6: Add Remaining Vegetables
Crush the spaghetti noodles with your hands and add to the pot. Slowly add zucchini, spinach, and green beans to the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes more.
Step 7: Prepare the Italian Sausage and Dried Beef
Chop the sausage and cook thoroughly in a small saucepan, making sure there is no pink color remaining. Remove from pan and allow to drain on a paper towel. While the sausage is cooking, slice the dried beef. Add both the cooked sausage and dried beef to the soup pot.
Step 8: Prepare the Pistou
Pistou is the paste that gives the soup its name. It provides the tomato base of the dish. To prepare the pistou:
Mince the garlic. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, basil, tomato paste, shredded cheese and remaining 1/2 c. olive oil. You will have a thick, pasty mixture.
Step 9: Incorporate Pistou into the Soup
Remove 1 c. of broth from the soup kettle and pour it into the bowl containing the Pistou mixture. Stir until the Pistou is incorporated into the broth. Pour mixture back into the soup kettle and stir until well-blended.
Step 10: Bon Appetit!
Your soup is now ready to enjoy! Ladle a hearty helping into a soup bowl and top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve with a slice of whole grain toast if desired.