Autumn Soup with Pistou

Total Time:
1 hr
10 min
50 min

4 to 6 servings

  • Soup:
  • 1 (6-ounce) piece lean smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced (1 medium-large) white onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2/3 cup diced (1 medium) carrot
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves or 1/2 teaspoon, dried
  • 6 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 (1-pound) cans cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 3 large firm ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped or 2 (1-pound) cans tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup small pasta shells
  • Pistou:
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • In a soup pot or casserole cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is golden. With a slotted spoon transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

  • Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan and add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock or broth and salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the beans and tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta and simmer the soup, covered, for 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Let stand off heat, covered, for 5 minutes.

  • Make the Pistou: In a small food processor or blender, combine garlic, basil, Parmesan and pepper and with machine running, add oil in a stream. Puree until well blended. Add salt to taste.

  • Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with the Pistou and accompanied by fontina and Parmesan toasts.

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