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In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over the kidney beans to cover, leave to soak for 30 minutes, and drain. Put the beans in a small saucepan with water to cover generously. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until nearly tender, about 1 hour, adding more water if the pan gets dry. Meanwhile, make the pistou.
Drain the beans and put them in a soup pot with the leek, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, onion, green beans, and bouquet garni. Add the water, season with salt and pepper, cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the peas, simmer for 5 minutes, and stir in the noodles. Continue simmering until the noodles are cooked and the vegetables are tender, 7 to 10 minutes longer. They should not be crunchy.
The soup should be quite thick, but if too much of the water has evaporated, thin it with a little boiling water. Take the soup from the heat, discard the bouquet garni, and stir in half of the pistou. Cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes for the flavor to mellow. You may also let it cool and then store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
To finish, if the soup has been made ahead, bring it back just to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve very hot, passing bowls of Parmesan cheese and the remaining pistou separately.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Chronicle Books.