“This humble braise more or less cooks itself. The vegetables are cut into large pieces (quick to prepare) and are meltingly tender when finished. Some might say they’re overcooked, and they are soft, but this only brings out their flavors. Once, when I added some pesto at the end, the familiar flavors told me that I had made a soupe au pisou, only a heartier version.” - Deborah Madison
|6 T||oil (sunflower or olive oil )|
|2||onions (chopped into large pieces)|
|8 clv||garlic (plump, peeled and halved )|
|3||thyme sprigs (fresh)|
|black pepper (optional)|
|3⁄4 lb||new potatoes (small)|
|1⁄2 lb||beans (yellow wax or green, ends trimmed)|
|5||tomatoes (medium, peeled, seeded, & chopped into large pieces, juice reserved)|
|1||bell pepper (yellow or orange cut into 1-inch strips)|
|1 lb||summer squash (cut into large pieces)|
|1 lb||shelling peas (shelled)|
|1⁄2 c||basil (fresh, packed)|
|1⁄2 c||parmesan cheese (grated, optional)|
1 . Warm the 3 T. oil with the bay leaves in a large casserole or dutch oven over low heat. When fragrant, add the onions, 6 of the garlic cloves, 2 of the thyme sprigs, and the sage. Cover and cook while you prepare the vegetables.
2 . Leave small carrots whole or cut fat ones into 4-inch lengths. Add them to the pot right away since they take the longest to cook. Season with salt and pepper. If the potatoes are no larger than large marbles, leave them whole. But quarter bigger ones and cut fingerlings in half lengthwise. Lay the potatoes on top of the onions and carrots. Cut the beans into 3-inch pieces and add them, along with the rest of the veggies except the shelling beans, to the pot, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper (optional).
3 . Strain the tomato juice over all, than cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes to an hour. If tightly covered, the vegetables will produce plenty of flavorful juices. If the pot seems dry, add a few tablespoons water or white wine.
4 . While the vegetables are cooking, simmer the shell beans in water with the remaining garlic and thyme and a little oil. When tender, after 30-45 minutes, season with salt and pepper (optional). Add the beans, with any liquid, to the pot.
5 . Make the Basil Puree shortly before serving: Chop the basil and garlic in a food processor with the oil and enough water to make a puree. Stir in the cheese (optional).
6 . Serve the vegetables in soup plates and spoon the Basil Puree over them.
7 . Enjoy!