Pistou Soup


White beans cooked in chicken stock with a little bit of the country ham from Virginia, provides a hearty flavor base to build upon. Carrots and onions add depth and some sweetness. Green beans and zucchini provide fresh, vegetal profiles and tomatoes add acidity. These are the basics of a well-balanced dish. An easy and fresh pesto, made just before serving and stirred into the soup adds a very bright addition that really livens up the entire recipe. 

Serves 6


Drain and transfer the soaked beans to a medium pot. Cover the beans with chicken stock and about 2 cups of water and add the slice of ham. Place the thyme and parsley sprigs on a piece of cheesecloth along with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Gather the corners to make a sachet and secure with kitchen twine. Add the sachet to the beans and bring the beans to a boil over medium high heat; lower heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

When the beans are tender, add the onion and carrots to the beans and continue simmering until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Then add the green beans, zucchini and tomatoes and continue cooking the soup for another 10 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, place the garlic and basil leaves in a small food processor or a blender and puree with olive oil until a smooth paste forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the basil puree. Serve immediately with crusty bread.



¾ cup dried cannellini beans,
   rinsed and soaked overnight
8 cups chicken stock
1 thick slice Virginia ham or
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
1 tablespoon black
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup small diced carrot
½ pound green beans, cut to
   ½-inch pieces
1 cup small diced zucchini
2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and
   roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups loosely packed basil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- fine sea salt and freshly
   ground pepper
1 loaf rustic bread

Special Equipment

Kitchen twine