This is an amazing recipe. It is very simple and you might not think it will turn into much, but when it is done, wowsie, this soup is special. It is plain, but the flavor is superb. And what is really magical is that it is creamy, but has no cream.
I have had the cookbook that this recipe is from, 365 Easy Italian Recipes, for twenty years. Although I have looked at it many times, the recipe is so basic, I always passed it by. However, we had an exceptional crop of zukes this year, and I got a bit desperate for new zucchini recipes. So I thought I’d give it a try and was blown away with the results. I have since made it four more times, and each time I am once again blown away. DH absolutely loves this soup.
The first time I made it, I followed the original recipe except for adding a carrot. Other than adjusting some proportions, this is the recipe that I have given you, below. Each time since then, I have experimented with various add-ins, but nothing has really surpassed that initial experience of just the plain soup. Try it that way if you like, or gussy it up to your hearts content. I can’t wait to hear what the creative OTCC cooks do with this one!
3 lbs. zucchini (about 3 medium sized)
2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
4-6 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup white rice
3 sprigs fresh lemon thyme (about 1 tablespoon) (or regular thyme and some lemon juice)
½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper (or to taste)
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1. Finely chop zucchini, carrot, and onion and sauté in olive oil until onions are translucent and zucchini release juices.
2. Add 4 cups of stock, rice, thyme, and simmer for 20 minutes until rice is tender. At this point the soup may be very thick and mush-like. Do not worry.
3. Using an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor, purée until smooth. This will thin the soup considerably.
4. Add cheese, salt, and pepper, reheat, and adjust seasonings. Add remaining stock as needed to thin to the consistency you like.
• Like most soups, this will taste much better if prepared a day before serving. If you do this, it will thicken and you will need to add some water or stock and probably more salt or other seasonings.
• I like this soup in a small serving as a first course. I don’t like to eat a big bowl of a pureed soup like this because even the most delicious soup gets boring without textures. You could easily use this as a base and add in chunkie things after pureeing it and serve it in a big bowl as an entrée. Some possiblities: cooked and cubed chicken or ham, lightly steamed zucchini slices, carrots, cooked rice, potatoes?, celery, ham, and many other possibilities I am sure.
• I grow lemon thyme in my garden and it is delicious in this soup. I have seen it for sale, but it might be hard to find. Regular thyme would work fine, just add a tablespoon of lemon juice as well. Dried thyme would be a last resort, I think.
• A splash of white wine added at the end is nice.
• Some cream or half and half or even yogurt or buttermilk added at the end would also be very good and make it even creamier.
• You could also try this recipe with a different vegetable than zucchini.
Sauté until onions are translucent and zucchini release juices:
Add stock, rice, and thyme and simmer for 20 minutes:
Blenderize until creamy, add parmesan, and reheat until the cheese melts:
Garnish with thin zucchini slices and extra parmesan. Have a seat!