Green vegetable soup, basil pesto

Green vegetable soup, basil pesto

New Classics
Mark Roper

A modern version of ‘soupe au Pistou’. Pistou, also known as pesto, meaning ‘pounded’, originates from Provence where the influences are both French and Italian. The ingredients are all very Provençale – zucchini, kale, beans and basil all sing in summer and, along with all the garlic and parmesan, this soup will both nourish and please the taste buds.


Quantity Ingredient
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
garlic, crushed
1 leek, roughly chopped, white part only
1 zucchini, sliced 5 mm thick
1 bunch broccolini, roughly chopped
1 bunch see method for ingredients, roughly chopped
2 litres Chicken stock
or water
200g green or flat beans, or half of each, cut into 1 cm lengths
1 bunch spinach, leaves picked and washed
155g fresh or frozen peas
salt and pepper
zucchini flowers

Basil pesto

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 bunch basil, leaves picked
80-100ml extra-virgin olive oil
100g pine nuts
125g finely grated parmesan
salt and pepper


  1. Put the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic in a saucepan and simply bring up from cold to medium heat to infuse the garlic nicely without frying it. Add the leek and sweat for a few minutes until tender. Add the zucchini, broccolini and cavolo nero. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the beans, spinach and peas and simmer for 5–10 minutes until tender. Season with salt and pepper then turn off the heat and let the soup rest for 30 minutes to develop the flavours.
  2. To make the pesto, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and have a bowl of iced water at hand. Plunge the parsley and half the basil into the water and blanch for 30 seconds. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon and refresh in the iced water. Drain the leaves and squeeze out the extra water. Chop roughly and place in a food processor with the other half of the basil, the garlic and a splash of the extra-virgin olive oil. Purée until smooth then add the pine nuts and parmesan. Pulse briefly so the pesto stays a little chunky. Add the rest of the oil. Add more oil if you think the pesto is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve

    Reheat the soup and ladle generously into deep bowls. Spoon in a dollop of pesto, top with a zucchini flower (add at the last minute, if using) and serve with crusty bread.
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