Soup au Pistou (French Peasant Vegetable Soup)

For the Soup:
olive oil or canola oil ( to coat pan)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 med. Red Onion (diced)
2 Tsp. Thyme
3 Bay Leaves
1 28 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
2 carrots (diced)
1 Zucchini (diced)
1 Yellow Squash (diced)
1/4 lb. fresh blanched Green Beans(cut in half)
1 14 oz. can of small Cannelini beans (drain & rinse)
5 cups Vegetable Broth ( canned is OK)
2 pinches of fresh Oregano
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
3/4 cup small uncooked Pasta
small pinch of Saffron

For the Pistou:
1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
3 cloves of Garlic (smashed and chopped)
4 Tsp. olive oil

In a dutch oven, heat the oil, onion and garlic. When tender add the Bay leaves and Thyme.
Put in squash, zucchini and green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add broth and saffron and bring to a boil.Cover and boil for 20 minutes. Then add oregano, peas and pasta. Cook until pasta is firm.
While the soup is cooking, make the pistou. Put all ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Blend well til smooth.
Ladle soup and add a spoonful of pistou on top.

OK- I know you’re wondering what the heck is pistou! Well its the French version of pesto. Only its not made with pine nuts and cheese like the Italian kind. PLEASE make sure you add this to your soup, its just not the same soup if you don’t. Put in a little at first then adjust as you like.
The kicker here not only is the pistou but the addition of the saffron. Yes, its expensive but its so worth it in this soup. Traditionally, you use only water for the broth, hence the peasant style. But adding the veggiwe broth just rounds out the flavors. Oh yeah- its totally vegan ( just watch what type of pasta you use)

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