Cream of Zucchini Pesto Soup
conjured up by Jenai May
Apparently I cannot use zucchini without dipping it in my Sicilian heritage. Easily adaptable, this soup can be as vegan or non-vegan as you desire. I used chicken broth merely because it's what I had on hand, but would likely use veggie broth in the future. Cream? It would have been creamy enough without the half & half. However, was it absolutely perfect as is? Oh yes. Oh so very yes. My son usually does not care for soup, and yet gave this one two BIG thumbs up. :)
5 or 6 modestly medium-sized Zucchini, grated
32 ounce box/can (4 cups) of vegetable or chicken Broth, low sodium (water would suffice)
1/2 large Yellow Onion, chopped small.
3 cloves Garlic, crushed.
3 medium-sized Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 Leek, sliced smallish (see photo)
4 Tablespoons prepared Pesto (or 6 Tablespoons finely chopped basil)
1 teaspoon dried crushed Thyme
1 teaspoon dried crushed Oregano
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper (can omit the white pepper and use only black)
2 teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon grated Lemon Rind
1 cup Half and Half (can omit for a lighter version)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Bread to eat with the soup!
Combine everything... except the Half and Half, Parmesan Cheese, and Bread... into a large soup pot. It will look as though there is not enough liquid. However, once that zucchini cooks it will add quite a lot of its own water to the mix. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (until the potatoes are tender). Remove from the heat and blend to desired smoothness with an immersion/stick blender. I don't blend to complete smoothness, and instead choose to leave a few chunks. If you do not have an immersion blender, then you can blend batches in a blender, and return the soup to the pot. That said, this would be yummy if one omitted the blending entirely.
Next, stir in the Half and Half. Serve in bowls and sprinkle each generously with Parmesan Cheese. Enjoy with bread!