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Roasted Zucchini Soup

Top with fresh basil.  Fesh tarragon, lemons and limes are other optional toppings.

A delicious twist on basic spaghetti:  Baking it with spinach, sausage and cheese melds the flavors deliciously and creates a one-dish meal that’s almost as good as lasagna—without all the work.  Use a smaller or larger amount of meat, as desired, or omit completely for a vegetarian version.

Serves:  4

Ingredient Notes

Parmesan Cheese Rinds  These squares of rind come from the casings for rounds of Parmesan cheese.  While they are too hard to be grated, they are still full of high quality Parmesan flavor at very reasonable price.  Whole Foods now sells cartons of rinds in the cheese department.  There’s a good chance they can be found at other stores which grate their own Parmesan cheese, especially specialty cheese shops.  

It’s always good to have a soup recipe handy for those late summer days that begin to hint of cooler autumn weather–and for the cooler days of autumn themselves!  Remember that zucchini will continue to show up at Farmers Markets into October.  This recipe roasts the zucchini first, to concentrate its sweet flavor.  Roast the day before and you’re set for easy soup-making.  



3 - 3 ½ lbs. small to medium zucchinis, sliced lengthwise into ¼” “slabs”

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Roast Zucchini  Preheat oven to 400 (F).  Place cut zucchini in a large bowl with plenty of room for tossing.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss with your hands, rubbing slices to coat evenly with olive oil.  

Lay slices on 2 or 3 cookie sheets, being sure to leave a little room around each slice (so slices will brown, rather than steam.)  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned on bottom sides, then flip slices and cook another 15-20 minutes to brown other sides.  If one pan is on the bottom rack of oven, switch it with the pan on the top rack for even cooking.     

1 qt. chicken or vegetable broth

1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)

While zucchini roasts, combine broth and rind in a soup pot, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 to 20 minutes while cooking leeks.  After simmering, remove Parmesan rind and discard, or chop very small and return to broth.  

2 large leeks, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half moons about 1/4” thick (about 2 cups)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. prepared chopped garlic

1/8-1/4 tsp. chili flakes, to taste

In a large saute pan, warm oil over medium heat until fairly hot (a slice of leek will sizzle lightly), then add leeks and cook about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened and beginning to brown.  Add garlic and chili paste and cook a couple more minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.  

Once they are both cooked, transfer leeks and zucchini to food processor or blender.  Puree until fairly smooth, leaving as much texture as desired and adding half cupfuls of Parmesan broth as necessary to keep blender or food processor from bogging down.  Pour pureed mixture back into soup pot with remaining broth.     

1 can white beans, with juices (or 1 ½ cups home cooked white beans, drained)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 cup loosely packed, fresh basil leaves, sliced (or 1 to 2 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon)

Toppings, as desired

Olive oil (high quality) for drizzling (1-2 tsp. per bowl)

Parmesan cheese, to taste

Fresh lemon or lime juice, to taste

Add beans to soup and simmer another 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.  Dish into soup bowls and top with fresh basil plus any other toppings desired.       

Roasted Zucchini Soup

with Fresh Basil and White Beans

Optional Accompaniments

Corn on the cob, yellow beans and hamburger with mustard garlic sauce are all good accompaniments.

© 2009 Culinary Concepts, Inc., Boulder CO

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