This is a classic summer vegetable soup of Provence, where basil and garlic are used as freely as salt and pepper. This from the kitchen of Lorraine M. Pistou, like Italian pesto, is an herb paste - in this case, a paste of basil, beans, and garlic that's stirred into the soup at the last minute to thicken and flavor.

Serves 4.

1/2 cp diced onion
1/2 cp diced carrots
1/2 cp diced celery
1/2 cp diced turnips
1/2 cp diced peeled russet-type baking potato
1/2 cp diced leeks, white part only
1/2 cp diced, peeled tomato, fresh or canned
4 cps vegetable broth
1/2 cp, cut in one inch lengths, dried whole wheat spaghetti
1 (15 oz.) can navy beans, or 2 cps cooked navy beans in 3/4 cp liquid
1 cp tightly packed basil leaves (see preserving below)
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper

In large pot, combine oinion,carrots, celery, turnips, potato, leeks, tomato, and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cover and adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook 10 minutes. Add the spaghetti and 1 cp beans with their liquid. Cover and simmer until spaghetti is tender, 10-12 minutes.

To make pistou, combine remaining beans with their liquid, basil and garlic in food processor, and puree until smooth. Add the puree to the soup and stir until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Basil Tip: To extend life of basil leaves, wrap them in damp paper towels and then tuck them in a plastic bag and store in refrigerator. Basil will last for several days without turning black.