Pesto as we know it, a classic combination of basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic and olive oil, takes its origins in Genoa, where it is used to flavour soups, pasta dishes and other primi piatti.
Other versions can include parsley, marjoram and other herbs. Walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds can also replace the pine nuts in some versions.
This provençal version of the green sauce differs from its Italian counterpart by the absence of pine nuts (or any other type of nut) in the making. Cheese and garlic are also optional ingredients, making it more a basil sauce than anything else. I suggest using cheese however.
The combination of fennel, zucchini and green beans, along with the classic basil sauce, is particularly appealing in this dish, and quite memorable.
Ingredients: 2-3 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups fresh basil leaves Method:
Soupe au pistou
1 onion, finely diced
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 bulb fennel, diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
1 large handful green beans, cut in thirds
2 medium zucchini, cut in four lengthwise, then sliced
1 can cannellini or borlotti beans, rinsed
4 or 5 leaves escarole or romaine lettuce, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth, approximately
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh basil leaves