Most of us don’t think to cook soup in the summer, but this is a fantastic option and it uses many of the ingredients that are in season in our gardens that we often have too much of and weary with what to do. Best of all, if you don’t have the vegetables on hand that I use in this recipe, you can easily replace them for other things.
2 cup (200g) dried beans (I used small white beans, cannelloni are great too)
2 bay leaves
sprigs of thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 medium carrots peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sea salt, or salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large clove of garlic, peeled
pinch of salt
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (if I don’t have enough basil I add mint)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small tomato; peeled, seeded, and diced
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
Rinse and sort the beans. Soak the beans overnight covered in cold water (if you want to skip this step you can use 2 large cans of canned beans).
The next day, drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan with the bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme and enough water to cover the beans with about 1 1/2 quarts of water. Cook the beans for about an hour, or until tender, adding more water if necessary to keep them immersed. Add the onions or leeks. Add the diced carrots, zucchini, garlic, and salt. Season with pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely cooked.
While the soup is cooking, make the pistou. Pound the garlic to a paste in a mortar and pestle (or use a food processor) with a generous pinch of salt. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and pound them into the garlic until the mixture is relatively smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, while pounding, then pound in the tomato and cheese. Taste, and season with more salt if desired.
Ladle hot soup into bowls and add a generous spoonful of pistou to the center and serve.