Recipe for tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup
I'd already purchased the ingredients for a summer pasta soup with white beans and basil, one of the soups you chose from Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons, before I studied the recipe. It didn't look as flavorful as I thought it could be, so I turned the ingredients over to Chelsea, my summer intern, and let her have at them. This vegetarian tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup -- which could also be served chilled -- is the happy result. If you have basil in your garden, and a few sprigs of thyme, you can create a vegetable soup that bursts with flavor. Add the thyme, which is hardy, early in the cooking, and save the basil for the end. When the tender basil leaves hit the heat of the soup, they'll release their perfume. And if you've been saving parmesan rinds in your refrigerator, toss one in for added richness. As Chelsea says, you can never have too much cheese.
Tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
3 sprigs thyme leaves
1 qt vegetable stock or water
1 15-oz can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (optional)
10 basil leaves
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over low-medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté 2 minutes, until translucent. Stir in the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes and zucchini, and cook, stirring a few times, for 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini just begin to soften. Strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs, and toss them into the pot. Stir, cook for 30 seconds more, and add the stock, beans and grated cheese. If you have one, add the cheese rind.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Roughly chop or shred the basil, and stir it into the soup. Remove the soup from heat. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve hot, garnished with additional cheese, if you wish. Or, serve chilled.