We've been on holiday lately and came home to 10 kilograms of zucchini in the allotment. I've managed to give a lot away, but wanted to use some fresh for some wholesome soup. Mr. G isn't really a soup fan, but I think I won him over with this. This is delicious, tasty, wholesome and satisfying, and if you choose your chilli right it's spicy too. I ought to make vegetable stock but I rarely think of it in time, so happily use a good quality vegetable stock cube.
No photos, because it all got gobbled up in short order, so you'll have to believe me it's pretty.
Zucchini and parmesan soup
Serves two. Easily expands to serve more, or have some for freezing.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic and one chilli, finely chopped together
15 leaves basil, torn
2 small-medium zucchini, or two large ones (about 200g), chopped into 1/2-inch dice
1 vegetable stock cube
2-3 cups water
1 tsp soya sauce
1/4 cup (about 30g) finely grated fresh parmesan, reserving a little for the garlic bread (if you have a parmesan rind use it in the soup too)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for 2-3 minutes. Then add the basil, garlic, chilli and zucchini and fry for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring to ensure they don't stick, until the zucchini start to brown. Add the water, stock cube, parmesan rind if using and soya sauce, bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and remove parmesan rind. Blend either in the pot with a stick blender or use a normal blender. Return pot to the heat, add parmesan and cook for 5 minutes more, or until required consistency. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve in bowls with a grinding of black pepper and the parsley scattered over, with the garlic bread on the side.
Makes two. Make this while the soup is boiling.
1/2 small ciabatta, cut in half horizontally as though for a sandwich
2-3 cloves garlic
1 pinch coarse salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp parmesan (optional)
Pound the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle, or alternatively chop the garlic finely and crush the garlic and salt together on the chopping board with the flat of a knife. Add the olive oil and stir to blend. Let these sit for a few minutes so the flavours can permeate. Spread this garlic oil over the cut surface of the ciabatta: I use a pastry brush for this. Sprinkle the parmesan over if using. Bake in a 180C oven for 10 minutes or under a grill for 5 minutes, until the bread is toasty and the garlic and cheese are golden.