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Thursday, April 3, 2008

You say pesto the French say Pistou

Reading this word for the first time today, made me think it sounds like Pesto. Well very much so and it is another way to spice up soups and other dishes and taking meals to another level.

Pistou sauce, or just pistou, is a cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil.

France's Best Pistou is Provence's French version of pesto.
Typically this condiment is added to a vegetable-rich soup. The Roman poet Virgil described a sauce made by crushing herbs in a mortar with garlic, salt and olive oil. Over time, the sauce would become a pesto was re-sounded into pistou in Nice.

Here was another good one that I found that looked good and will try

soupe au pistou

A good-for-you French stew
Low fat, flavorful — this soup will bowl you over. In France, where foie gras rules, this soup stands out: It's low fat and vegetarian. Suzanne Goin, chef and co-owner of Lucques in Los Angeles, first tasted it on a vacation. Years later, she put it on her menu. With salad and a baguette, the bean and veggie stew makes a fiber-rich meal. "Pistou" is its basil-based topping; Italians call it pesto. We call it delicious.

Servings: Makes 6 servings.

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 head fennel, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 1/2cups drained and chopped canned plum tomatoes
2 cans (15 ounces each) white cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
6 tsp prepared pesto or extra-virgin olive oil

For the stock:
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat; stir in ingredients. Cover. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 30minutes. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer for 45 minutes. Strain, reserving broth and half the vegetables. Skim fat. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Puree reserved vegetables in a blender. Stir into stock.
For the soup:
Heat oil in the same pot. Sauté onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and herbs. Add reserved broth, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer 30 to 45 minutes. Ladle into bowls; drizzle with pesto or oil.

Nutritional Information

Nutritional analysis per serving: 314 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 43.5 g carbohydrates, 12.5 g protein



Making my pistou starts with adding tomatoes and olive oil to basil, garlic and salt, then crushing the mixture in a mortar with a pestle until it's smooth. (In the Provençal dialect, pistou means "pounded.") The pistou is then stirred into the soup, amplifying the flavors of both.
The Provençal also spend a lot of time discussing versions of the soup. Traditionally, it includes a homemade broth, fresh white beans, green beans, potatoes and macaroni. A recipe by Patricia Wells adds pumpkin; one by Richard Olney calls for carrots. Cooks in Provence often vary the pasta, too (some use vermicelli). Robert Lalleman, the chef at the esteemed Auberge de Noves in Avignon, enriches his recipe by sautéing pasta in butter before mixing it into the soup.
What follows is a classic recipe for the sauce plus two variations on the soup—one I recently concocted with pancetta and the other, the first soupe au pistou I ever loved.

Classic Pistou

Pistou is an olive oil–based basil sauce from the south of France that closely resembles Ligurian pesto. There's only one way to make true pistou —by hand. Tear the basil leaves into pieces first, then grind the leaves against the side of a mortar with a pestle to puree them into a silky, creamy sauce. Like its Italian twin, pistou can also be served as an accompaniment to grilled meats, poultry, fish and vegetables. ingredients

• 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 1/2 cups basil leaves, torn into pieces (2 ounces)
• 1/4 cup coarsely grated plum tomatoes
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 cup finely grated Mimolette or slightly aged Gouda (3 ounces)


1. In a large mortar, pound the garlic with the salt to a paste. Add the basil by the handful and grind the leaves against the side of the mortar until almost smooth. Stir in the tomatoes, then gradually stir in the olive oil until it's incorporated. Stir in the cheese and refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTES Two Tablespoons 103 Calories, 10 gm Total Fat, 2.9 gm Saturated Fat, 1 gm carb, 0 gm Fiber.

This one was made with eggplant

Pistou de Marseille

TOTAL TIME: 3 HRS 15 MIN plus overnight soaking
This is the first version of soupe au pistou that Wolfert ever loved. She learned the recipe in the '70s from Claude Thomas, her neighbor in Tangier, who was writer Paul Bowles's French translator. Thomas's trick was to use a ratatouille-like mixture as a base for the hearty soup. Here the soup starts with a sautéed mix of eggplant, onions, garlic, peppers and zucchini.

• 1 small eggplant (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• Kosher salt
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 Italian frying pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 pound medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 7 roma or plum tomatoes— peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 1/2 cups)
• 3 quarts boiling water
• 1 1/4 cups dried cannellini beans (1/2 pound), soaked in cold water overnight and drained
• Bouquet garni made with 3 large basil leaves, 2 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme sprig and 1 bay leaf
• 2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1/2 pound mixed green beans and yellow wax beans, cut into 1-inch lengths (2 cups)
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
• 1 cup elbow macaroni
• 1 cup classic pistou
• Finely grated Mimolette or lightly aged Gouda, for serving


1. In a colander, toss the eggplant with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and let drain for 20 minutes. Rinse the eggplant well and squeeze out as much water as possible.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the eggplant, frying pepper and half of the zucchini and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
3. Pour the boiling water into the pot and add the drained cannellini beans. Cover and simmer gently over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
4. Add the bouquet garni, carrots, mixed green and wax beans and nutmeg to the soup and cook until the beans are tender. Season the soup generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining diced zucchini, the potatoes and the macaroni and cook until the potatoes and macaroni are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Classic Pistou. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with grated Mimolette; pass additional grated cheese at the table.

MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat and add the Classic Pistou shortly before serving.
NOTES One Serving 248 Calories, 14 gm Fat, 3.2 gm Saturated Fat, 26 gm Carbohydrates, 6.5 gm

compare that one with this kosherize passover one where I first actually heard the term Pistou but made with dill instead

Matzo Ball Soup with Dill-Horseradish Pistou

Instead of sprinkling his soup with the customary bits of chopped fresh dill, Adam Perry Lang makes a vibrant horseradish and dill pistou (typically a condiment of fresh basil, garlic and olive oil). A swirl of the flavorful pistou brightens up the soup enormously. ingredients

• 8 large eggs, beaten
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1 cup seltzer or club soda
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 2 cups matzo meal (10 ounces)


• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 cup coarsely chopped dill
• 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh horseradish
• 1 garlic clove
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 medium turnip, peeled and finely diced
• 1 celery rib, finely diced
• 1 large carrot, finely diced
• 5 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
• 8 cups diced chicken (3/4 inch), from two 3 1/2-pound chickens


1. Make the Matzo Balls: In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the olive oil, seltzer, salt, white pepper and ginger. Add the matzo meal and stir until moistened. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
2. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper. Scoop the matzo meal mixture into fifty 1-inch balls. Using lightly moistened hands, roll the matzo balls until smooth. Transfer to the baking sheets and refrigerate the matzo balls briefly.
3. Meanwhile, Make the Pistou: In a blender or food processor, pulse the olive oil with the dill, fresh horseradish, garlic, salt and white pepper until the dill is finely chopped and a sauce has formed.
4. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the turnip, celery and carrot and cook the vegetables until they are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water.
5. In a large pot of boiling salted water, simmer the matzo balls over very low heat, covered, until they are plump and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the stock with the vegetables. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the matzo balls to the soup; simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until heated through. Serve the soup in bowls with a dollop of the dill pistou.

MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step 3; refrigerate overnight. WINE Sauvignon Blanc’s bright, gooseberry-inflected zestiness is a good match for this light but flavorful soup. Some of the best Sauvignons come from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, especially in the top-quality 2006 vintage; for a kosher choice, check out the aromatic 2006 Goose Bay.

another good recipe

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