Soup Series: Zucchini-Basil
I love basil and all things pesto. I think this love affair probably started when I spent time living in Italy a few years ago and indulged in pesto at every opportunity. Not only that, but the basil plants in my garden just so happen to be overflowing right now. So when it came time for me to try a soup recipe, I knew it had to include basil. I perused a couple of my dusty cookbooks for basil and/or pesto related soup recipes and after adding and subtracting parts from a few recipes, came up with my own inspiration: Zucchini-Basil Soup. The final product was bright green, delicious and even pretty healthy! It made a great dinner with some crusty bread for dipping. I used pesto but I think this soup would also be tasty with basil leaves blended in. This recipe will make 4 to 6 servings.
3 cloves garlic
About ¼ cup olive oil
4 medium to large zucchini
2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup basil OR ½ cup pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan (or any) cheese to top
Combine the chopped onion and garlic in a large sauté pan with about ¼ cup olive oil and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add in the chopped zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the 2 ½ cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock into the sauté pan and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Purée the entire mixture in the blender, probably in two batches. Add in the basil leaves or pesto. Use caution while blending the hot soup mixture. If the soup looks a bit watery, drain the stock from the vegetables before blending the second batch. Combine the two batches, season with salt and pepper and serve topped with grated parmesan and garnish if desired. Serve with a side of toasted bread and you’ve created dinner in under 30 minutes!
Note: To create the garnish shown in the photo, use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off one zucchini into skinny strips before chopping. Set the strips aside in a small dish with a pinch of salt so that they wilt a bit.