One of my favorite things about Winter is warming my kitchen by making soups and stews in my Dutch Oven. I almost forgot about the Polar Vortex while I slurped this steamy, hearty, summer in your mouth creation.
This recipe by Paula Wolfert is her version of a soupe au pistou. A French Provencal soup which, “when the cold raw sauce hits the hot soup, culinary alchemy takes place, and the flavors of each are amplified.” This soup makes wonderful use of all the vegetables and herbs I canned, dried, and froze this Fall. The result really is Summer in a pot.
1 cup dried small white beans, soaked in water to cover for 6 hours, drained
6 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt and more as needed
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 3/8-inch thick pieces
1/2 pound boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into 3/8-inch dice
3/4 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped coarsely
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 3/8-inch dice
2 leeks, white and light green part only, split lengthwise, washed well, thinly sliced
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup ditali or any small tubular soup macaroni
1 recipe Pesto, with the addition of 1 large peeled and seeded mashed small tomato
1. Place the white beans in your Dutch Oven and cover with 3 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and cook, salting the water a bit, until tender, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Drain and set the beans aside.
2. Meanwhile, in your Dutch Oven, bring the remaining 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat, then add the green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, leeks, thyme, and bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, then stir 2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and the olive oil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes.
After the soup has been cooking 15 minutes add the pasta and reserved beans and continue cooking until the pasta is soft too. Serve hot in your pasta bowl with the pesto passed at the table as everyone likes to put in their own quantity of pesto.