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Soupe au Pistou, Nice

Thick, rich Provencal vegetable & bean soup with basil dressing

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A tasty soup made with a selection of summer vegetable, fresh from the market and then garnished with a 'pistou' (not pesto!).

The pistou is what makes this a distinctly Provencal meal and locals will enforce the fact (strongly) that pistou is nothing like its cousin, pesto. The latter contains pine nuts, parmesan and pecorino, whereas pistou is a more basic mix of basil, good quality olive oil and garlic.

Basil looses a lot of its flavour when cooked, so the pistou is usually mixed into the soup just before serving or even served separately.

As with many French recipes, they are passed down through generations and so there are many variations and preferences for types of vegetables used, beans chosen or if pasta is added. But one thing that is not disputed is serving it with delicious bread and a serving of pistou.