Soupe au Pistou du Printemps

Serves 6

This classic southern French soup is served at every season. Here is a springtime version adapted from French Beans by Georgeanne Brennan.

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 2 leeks, white part only, cut in half and finely sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, with leaves, finely sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked small white beans, such as navy or coco blanc
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • ¼ cup long grain white rice
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine garlic and salt in a blender or processor. Pulse to make a paste. Add basil leaves and pulse again. With the motor running, gradually add in oil. Set the pistou aside.

In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add leek, celery, and onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked and vegetables are tender. Stir 2 tablespoons pistou into the soup. Serve with remaining pistou on the side.