About this recipe:This classic pistou from the south of France, topped with a richly flavoured garlic and basil paste, called aïllade, and a sprinkling of parmesan, makes a nourishing main meal. Serve with crusty bread.
1.25 litres vegetable stock
2 small leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 zucchini, diced
400g can chopped tomatoes
200g French beans, cut into short lengths
400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
100g vermicelli pasta (spaghettini), broken into short lengths
Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and add the leeks, carrots, zucchini and canned tomatoes with their juice. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the French beans, cannellini beans and vermicelli, bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables and pasta are tender. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, to make the aïllade, use a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic, basil and tomato until smooth. Season to taste.
Ladle the soup into wide bowls and add a spoonful of aïllade and some thin shavings of cheese to each serving.