Soupe au Pistou

1/4 cup Vera Jane's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and minced
4 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup celery leaves, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
12 cups water
(1) 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
(2) 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 lb fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb small zucchini, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/3 lb small pasta, such as ditalini
For the pistou:
4 cups fresh basil
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Vera Jane's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded for garnish

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, and celery leaves and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the potatoes. Cover the vegetables with water and stir in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 40 to 45 minutes. Add the cannellini beans, green beans, zucchini, and pasta and continue simmering until the vegetables are tender and the pasta is cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the pistou: Place basil in a food processor. Using a garlic press, press the garlic on top of the basil. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil, continuing until the mixture becomes pasty. Add the cheese and process to combine. Season with salt and pepper. To serve: Ladle soup into bowls and stir in 1 tablespoon of the pistou. Pass the cheese for sprinkling on top.

Makes 10 — 12 servings

Per serving: 376 calories; 18g total fat; 3g saturated fat; 5mg cholesterol; 233mg sodium; 43g total carbohydrates; 11g protein;

Allergy Warning: Contains milk and wheat