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Feb 4, 2011 08:44 AM

Looking for soupe au pistou recipe from old magazine

Anyone collect old foodie magazines?

My HS French teacher often (well, not often enough...) had "culture days" when we each brought food. One time I was assigned a soupe au pistou recipe. It was delicious, but I haven't made it since and I long ago lost the recipe. It was a photo copy of a recipe in a magazine. I don't remember which one, but it was probably something like Gourmet or Bon Appetite. It would be pre-1978.

I know this is a long shot, but just thought I'd ask anyway.


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  1. Does it have to be that same recipe? I can't help with that but have the following in my archives - I think it's fairly authentic and the key thing that transforms it into something special (and French) is the basil dressing. You're right, it's delicious, and such simple ingredients!

    Gently fry 1 sliced onion until soft and add 2 peeled chopped tomatoes. Add 1 pt water and then throw in 1/2 lb French green beans, 4 oz white haricot beans, 1 diced courgette, 2 diced potatoes and 1 large leek, chopped. Simmer until just cooked (not mushy). for the pistou, pound together 3 cloves garlic and 10 springs basil, then add 2-3 tbsp oil drop by drop. Stir into the soup at the last minute, once off the heat. serve topped with parmesan or grated gruyere.

    Hope that fills the gap for you!

    6 Replies
    1. re: flashria

      Thanks, flashria.

      Turns out the recipe I was given was Julia Child's -- it must have been a photocopy of a page in her book, not a magazine. The key was the pistou -- her recipe uses a basil & olive oil pesto but with the addition of tomato paste and parmesan, which is what I remember making.

      1. re: KansasKate

        We had this discussion a few weeks ago...there's nothing inherently wrong with adding tomato paste to pistou, but it's not the way it's traditionally made in Provence...a traditional pistou is pesto with a French accent...basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan.

        1. re: sunshine842

          On Avec Eric (last night on CreateTV), he just used basil, garlic, and oil; at least I don't recall any nuts or cheese.

          1. re: sunshine842

            Julia's pistou isn't traditional, but as I recall, what I made for French class was pretty darn good, and I guess I'm more interested in recreating something I haven't made in 30+ years than just making soupe au pistou (for which there are many, many recipes).

            And I think in this case, one can take liberties with the pistou; since it goes in soup, the ingredients in the pistou get mixed in with the many ingredients in the soup. When I put pesto on gnocchi, for example, it would be obvious (and sort of strange) if it had tomato paste in it. At least, that's my take on it.

            1. re: KansasKate

              Though Eric did stress adding the pistou at the end, even at the table, to maximize its impact and color.

              1. re: KansasKate

                I wasn't knocking the presence of the tomato at all...just adding the FYI that it's not traditional.