Tomato Zucchini Bisque with Pistou

Caputo’s Market provided the Gruyere for use in this recipe.  I always go there when I’m looking for high-quality cheeses to use in my cooking.  
This was my first attempt at creating deceptively delicious food for my kids. And you know what? It totally worked. They didn’t even suspect that the zucchini they claim to hate was not only in their soup, but being enjoyed and slurped down hungrily.  When I tell you that my kids also asked if there were any leftovers the next day (for breakfast!), you’ll believe me that it’s that good.  Another way to use up zucchini from your garden.  I’m always looking out for you in that regard. :)

That’s kids for you though, isn’t it?

I also slipped grated zucchini into another favorite meal of theirs and I felt like I’d gotten away with robbing a bank or something. I want them to eat their veggies and like them, but if this is what I have to do to get them to eat their zucchini, then so be it. We’ll keep trying the French method until they openly love their veggies like their parents.

Of course it isn’t so hard to eat your veggies when they’re pureed into a delicious soup.

So pistou. Have you ever tried it?  Pistou is France’s answer to pesto. It’s incredible. I found a recipe in The Joy of Cooking and it called for Gruyere. Every other recipe called for Parmigiano, which makes it just like nut-free pesto. You HAVE to try it with the Gruyere. Just take my word for it.  It took the soup to the next level, as did a little extra grated Gruyere on top.

I have more garden tomatoes and more zucchini, so I think I know what we’re having for dinner again tonight.  What about you?

Tomato Zucchini Bisque with Pistou

original recipe for soup, pisto recipe adapted slightly from The Joy of Cooking


For soup:

2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, halved
1 lb. zucchini, sliced
a little olive oil
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

For Pistou:

4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Gruyere, grated
1/3 cup or more olive oil
pinch of coarse salt


For soup:

Place tomatoes and zucchini in a roasting pan or baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven until the zucchini is very tender and both the zucchini and tomatoes have darkened in places.  This will take anywhere from 45-60 minutes depending on the pan you use.

While the zucchini and tomatoes are roasting, heat a little oil in a 3 quart pot.  Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown.  Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.  Add about 4 cups of water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits.  Simmer until the onions and garlic are very tender.  The liquid will evaporate, and that’s totally fine.

Place the zucchini, tomatoes, any accumulated juices and the onion/garlic broth in a high speed blender.  Be careful when pureeing the hot vegetables and liquid.  It can escape from the lid and burn you.  (Trust me.)  Pour back into the pan and add enough water to get it to the desired consistency.  Season well with salt and pepper.

For Pistou:

Place the basil into a food processor, or a mortar and pestle (in batches), and process until very finely chopped.  Add the garlic and cheese,  Process until a very thick paste forms.  Add the olive oil and keep processing, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the pistou is smooth.  Taste and add a little salt, if needed.

To serve:

Ladle soup into shallow bowls and top with a little of the pistou and swirl through the soup.  Sprinkle with a bit of Gruyere, if desired.

Makes enough for 4-6.

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