This light, creamy soup makes a simple, elegant lunch or first course for dinner; it”s topped with bright green pistou (like pesto, but without the pine nuts). Some pistou versions add finely grated mimolette, gruyere, or other hard cheese—I’m keeping this one vegan. I also added chives for a fresh, peppery bite. The word “pistou” means pounded, and the classic sauce is made in a mortar and pestle, which doesn’t work well with chives. I used a small food processor on the lowest possible setting, but you can try your hand at pounding. Use a blend of zucchini, yellow crookneck and delicata squash, or whatever’s available in your garden or at the market, and serve it hot or chilled.
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small Vidalia or other sweet onion (substitute yellow onion)
2 thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
3 summer squash, zucchini or any combination, chopped (about 4 cups)
4 cups vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1 cup chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Fresh chives and parsley for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook onion for 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Stir in potato and squash, and toss to coat with oil.
- Add 3 cups of the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, partly covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- While soup is cooking, make pistou: combine garlic, basil, chives and salt in a small food processor, and process on the lowest setting until ingredients are finely chopped. With machine running, slowly add oil until it’s completely incorporated, scraping down sides as needed; process until well blended. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.
- When soup has finished cooking, add to the food processor and puree in batches, until smooth and creamy. Add additional stock as needed to reach desired consistency.
- To serve, divide soup between 4 to 6 bowls. Stir a spoonful of pistou into soup, and garnish with fresh chives and parsley. Serve immediately.