I usually cook my beans in a pressure cooker, then open up the cooker and finish the rest of the soup with the lid off, simmering on the stove. You can cook the whole soup in a conventional pot, but it will take a little longer.
Soak the beans overnight. Drain the beans and place in a pressure cooker. Add the stock. Cut a little off the top of the head of garlic and throw it in with the beans, skin and all. Close the lid and bring the cooker to full pressure on high heat. Turn down the flame to low, but keep pressure. Cook for 40 minutes.
If using a conventional pot, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer with the lid partially on for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the beans are just tender.
Now take the lid off the pot and keep the soup simmering. Remove the head of garlic to a board and allow to cool.
Add the chopped onion, zucchini, pesto, and tomatoes. Taste the broth and beans for salt and adjust.
With the side of your knife, squish the cooked garlic cloves out of the head of garlic and add to the pot.
Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the green beans and cook another 15 minutes.
If you are going to add any cooked meat, add with the green beans. This is a great way to use leftover braised or grilled meats, or smoked sausage.
Just before serving, stack the basil leaves in a pile and slice them crosswise to make thin slivers.
Grate the cheese.
Serve in deep bowls topped with the basil and cheese.
A hearty glass of Terre Rouge red wine and a chunk of crusty bread are all you need.