Soupe au Pistou

This hearty and delicious soup is a provençal favourite and Provence’s answer to minestrone. Serve with crusty baguette and a crisp rosé.

750g diced green beans
750g shelled white beans (if using dried beans soak overnight)
750g shelled red beans (if using dried beans soak overnight)
2 potatoes, courgettes and leeks – all diced
1 stick celery chopped
2 peeled tomatoes
Bunch of basil
5 garlic cloves
50g each of grated parmesan and gruyère
2 glasses olive oil
250g small pasta shells

Boil all the vegetables (apart from tomatoes) in 3 litres of salted water for 1½ hours. Separately, crush the garlic cloves with the basil. Add tomatoes and pour on the olive oil in a slow trickle until you have a paste.
20 minutes before the end of cooking add the paste to the pot. Check seasoning, and add salt and pepper as required.
Bring soup to the boil, and add the pasta.
When pasta shells are cooked, stir in gruyère and parmesan. Serve piping hot.


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