Soak the haricot beans in cold water
overnight. Drain the beans and tip them into a small saucepan. Cover
with fresh water, add a little salt and bring to the boil. Cover and
simmer for 1 1/4 hours or until tender.
Drain. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
Add the onion and cook it gently for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes
and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
Add the French beans, courgette and potatoes. Cover and simmer gently
for 40 minutes, then add the vermicelli and drained haricot beans and
cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir
the pistou into the soup. Then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve
with the cheese.
As in many other Nicois recipes, there is
a strong Italian influence clearly evident in this soup, which is a
close relation toe minestrone. To make the process quicker, rather than
soaking the haricot beans and cooking them yourself, use half the
drained contents of a 400g (14 oz) can.
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