- Portion size 8 servings
Rinse beans and sort, if necessary, discarding any blemished ones and any grit.
In large saucepan, cover beans with 3 times their volume of water. Bring to boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain. Return soaked beans to pan along with 3 times their volume of fresh water. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 3 hours. (Or soak overnight, drain and cook with 3 times their volume of water until tender, about 2-1/2 hours.) Drain; set aside.
Meanwhile, in Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, celery, carrots, salt and pepper until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in water, stock, bay leaf and thyme; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked beans, potatoes and fennel; return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, zucchini, haricots verts, peas and vermicelli. (Note: If using frozen peas, add during last minute of cooking.) Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until haricots verts and peas are tender.
Pistou: Meanwhile, in food processor, pur?basil with cheese; gradually blend in oil in thin, steady stream. Transfer to bowl; stir in garlic. (Make-ahead: Transfer to resealable plastic bag, press out air and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 2 weeks.)
To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls. Top with generous dollop of pistou.