1 cup fresh shell beans (such as cranberry or lima), soaked for a couple of hours in water or 1/2 cup dried beans, soaked overnight (or boiled for 2 minutes and soaked for 2 hours), drained
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 small to medium zucchini, trimmed and chopped
2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup small pasta like ditalini, or capellini broken into pieces
Freshly grated Parmesan to taste
- Put beans, onion, carrots, celery and potatoes in a large saucepan with water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 60 minutes (dried beans will take longer to cook than fresh), adding a little more water if necessary. When beans are just about tender, add zucchini and tomatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining garlic, basil and olive oil in a mortar and pestle until pasty, a food processor may also be used since pesto needs to be more pasty as a soup topping. Use more oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
- About 10 minutes before serving, add pasta to soup and cook until tender but not mushy; season again. Serve soup, passing pistou and Parmesan at the table.