You may look at this photo and just see soup. But you’d be wrong: it’s not just a soup, it’s also a solution to a problem. Several problems, actually.
First: The problem known as ‘drowning in courgettes’ most gardeners are familiar with. Even if you don’t have a garden but are friends with a gardener you have probably been gifted courgette at some point. I know how productive courgette plants can be if the weather is right and only grow one or two in my garden, but they still beat me. This problem is complicated by another one: my son does not like courgette (he’d probably use a stronger word). I still remember the one time we came to our allotment after the first frost and he dramatically announced: ‘Thank God, the courgette plant is dead!’. There is also the ‘how do I make something healthy and good for dinner with the least possible effort’-problem.
Well, this recipe solves them all. It uses a whole kilo of courgette, and it is good even with the somewhat bigger fruits that grew too large when you turned away for a second. It also uses a lot of basil (also abundant at the moment) which is my son’s favourite herb and coaxed him into liking this dish. And…it only takes about 25 minutes to make. Even better – it’s so easy the last time I got my daughter to make it.
I found this gem of a recipe thanks to a follower on Instagram last year after I shared a photo of our courgette harvest and asked for suggestions what to make (that’s how we solve problems these days, right?). I made it many times over the course of the summer and will for sure continue to make it this year. I’m giving the recipe to you now, before you start drowning in courgettes, so that you can save yourself in time.
p.s. The courgette variety I am growing this year is the light-skinned ‘Cavili’ which sets fruit without pollination, even in colder temperatures = more courgettes!
Italian courgette and basil soup
Adapted from BBC food
60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
A generous handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 kilo (2 ¼ pounds) courgette, cubed
750 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
60 ml (1/4 cup) cream
60 g (2 ounces) parmesan cheese, grated
Olive oil and a few basil leaves to serve (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pan. Add garlic, basil and courgette and cook slowly for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add stock and simmer for 8 minutes. Set a bit of the courgette cubes apart and puree the rest. (You can puree all of it if you prefer – my son does, since he does not like to be reminded he’s eating courgette). Add cream and parmesan, stir well and check the seasoning. Serve with some of the reserved courgette in every plate, a drizzle of olive oil and a few basil leaves.