Saturday, June 15, 2013

Zucchini and Potato Soup

Copyright 2013 LtDansKitchen blogs
Based on Lidia's recipe, I wanted something Italian to go with my light Italian lunch that I was preparing for my cousin and some friends. It started out with a spinach quiche until I found out fresh spinach were not available in the grocery stores that same week I was having friends over. It was only last week that I found out that they were actually found (albeit frozen) in the freezer section of the grocery stores I frequent but it was already too late. Porcini mushrooms are also a scarcity but fresh oyster mushrooms are definitely available everywhere and so are dried shitake mushrooms. I wanted a lighter flavor to the soup however so I just used the fresh oyster mushrooms instead. Zucchini was also not available so I used a chayote which was the closest thing I could think of in terms of texture.

The soup is a light fare even with potatoes and rice in it. That is I think the one thing I noticed about the Italian soups that I have made over the last couple of years. My memory of an Italian soup is usually associated with the Minestrone, a thick pasta soup that I once tried while still living in the US. That particular soup was delicious but very gloopy and heavy. I think I like the more authentic version of a lighter Italian soup which allows you to enjoy a more varied meal since it gives you enough room in your stomach to go for a second and even a third course. 

Zucchini and Potato Soup - Adapted*

3-4 medium zucchini, diced 
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves, dried
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, diced
2 carrots, diced
3-4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup short-grained rice
10 cups beef stock
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese to pass along

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the oil and saute 
    the garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook 
    until softened. Add the bay leaves and mix. 

2. Add the broth into the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop the rice 
    and mix well to prevent from clumping. Cook covered for about 10 
    minutes while stirring occasionally.

3. Add the potatoes, zucchini (or chayotes) and the carrots and cook until the
    rice is al dente. 

4. Stir in the mushrooms and check for flavor. Adjust accordingly. 

5. To serve, drizzle with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil and top with 
    the chopped parsley. Pass the cheese around the table if desired.

*Lidia's Italy: Zucchini and Potato Minestra.

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