Sometimes in the winter, you just want a warm soup that takes minimal effort. After all, we’re spending so much energy just staying warm, it would be nice if the soup were easy to whip together! I feel this way about soup particularly when I’m sick in the winter. For some reason after making my own soups, I’ve spoiled myself and hate buying soups if I can help it to recover from illness (they just never taste the same!) But of course when I’m sick the last thing I want to do is be hovering over the stove. (I decided to solve this problem the last time this happened by making extra soup and storing it in the freezer for the next sick day: gold star for self.)
In any event, I’ve been making lots of butternut squash and tomato soup, and finally decided to try this zucchini basil soup from an Ina Garten cookbook I’ve head on my shelf for some time. I had been extremely wary of it, for no apparently reason, given that one of my favorite Korean soups includes warm cooked zucchini.
I sometimes wonder if my feelings on zucchini are related to back when my family grew them in the backyard, and there were just so many delicious zucchini flowers that turned into gigantic zucchinis that just never made it into my (non-existent) “favorite vegetable” list.
In any event, this with a drizzle of basil olive oil and a sprinkle of grated parmesan really warms the soul on a cold winter night. It also has a nice spicy twang thanks to the red chili pepper flakes, which made for a wonderful pairing with a California Zinfandel.
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yello onion
- 2 tbsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
- 3 lb zucchini (I used about 4 medium-large ones)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- 1 cup good dry white wine (I used a dry Sauvignon Blanc)
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (Kitchen Basics has a nice one)
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- grated parmesan cheese or serving
- Heat the olive oil in a large port over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the zucchini, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
- Add the wine, chicken stock, and basil, bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the zucchini is very tender.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture.
- Serve with a grating of cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead.
2 thoughts on “Zucchini and Basil Soup”
Made this with dried basil because I didn’t have fresh and live too far from a grocery store to hop in the car and go get some. Not a wise move. I’ve cooked for years and dried basil will sometimes get the job done, but not this time. It was edible, but barely. Clearly the fresh basil is a major part of what makes this soup good. I doctored it up to make it better, but do yourself a favor and make sure you have the fresh basil.
Yes, it amazing the difference that fresh herbs make to certain recipes. I’ll be making a Persian beef and bean stew shortly that calls for massive amounts of fresh herbs. Dry substitutions just won’t cut it. Although dry herbs have their place.