Recipe courtesy of Georgia Downard

Autumn Soup with Pistou

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  • Total: 1 hr
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with the Pistou and accompanied by fontina and Parmesan toasts.