La Soupe au Pistou


Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Honey from a Weed

By Patience Gray

Published 1986

  • About

This Provençal soup, Genoese by birth, is a dense concoction of vegetables given further substance by fresh nouilles and/or rice, a celebration of the time of year when everything is tender, sweet and fresh, to which the pistou (Italian pesto) is added. In this village it was Gruyère, not pecorino sardo or parmesan, that was incorporated. Here is the principle:


  • olive oil
  • 1 sweet white onion
  • a handful of rice
  • haricots verts a handful of each
  • broad beans a handful of each
  • peas a handful of each
  • a few young carrots
  • 2 or 3 small courgettes
  • 3 new potatoes
  • a handful of fresh nouilles


    Put a little olive oil in a pot on a low heat, add the chopped onion and the rice, then the haricots verts (topped, tailed and broken in two), the broad beans sliced in two, the peas, carrots and courgettes, and the potatoes, diced. Sweat for a few minutes, add water to cover and boil quickly for 10 minutes, covered. Put in the nouilles and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the well-pounded pistou.

    This was the summer evening meal. The soup is sometimes made even more dense by adding an egg beaten with lemon juice, onto which some of the soup liquor is poured, stirred while it thickens, then poured back into the pot. But in this case the cheese is omitted from the pistou.