Recipe for zucchini and basil soup
Last week it was on the warm side here in southern New England, but for the past few nights the temperatures have hovered just above freezing, and that was enough to do in the basil left in the garden. Fortunately I'd cut a bunch last weekend, and kept it standing in a cup of water on the counter, just like a vase of flowers. This morning, the basil was fine, but a couple of zucchini weren't faring too well, and if I didn't use them right away, they would be relegated to the compost pile. That's one great thing about soup, though; trim off a bad spot here and a mushy part there, and almost any ugly duckling vegetable will turn into a beautiful swan of a soup. Don't be afraid to use a tiny bit of butter to add richness to an otherwise bland potage. That, and basil leaves added right at the end so they didn't really cook, made this soup delightfully delicious.
Zucchini and basil soup
1 tsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 baking potato, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
2 cups water
10 basil leaves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste
In a small Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the butter and oil over low heat until the butter melts. Add the zucchini, onion and potato. Cook, stirring frequently so the vegetables don't stick to the pot, for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft but not yet starting to brown.
Add the broth and water. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes and zucchini are mashable with a wooden spoon. Remove the pot from heat and add the chopped basil.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a stand blender. Taste and season with salt and pepper. This soup will not be thick, but if you would like it thicker, return the pot to the stove and continue to cook, uncovered, over medium heat, for 5 minutes or until the soup reaches the thickness you prefer.