Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cream of Broccoli and Zucchini Soup w/ Cheesy Garlic Bread

    So, I've said before that I'm not really a big soup person, but the frigid temperatures we've had lately have definitely helped to change my mind!  A delicious soup is just the thing to warm you up when it's freezing outside.  And, speaking of frigid temperatures.... none of us want our children to be outside waiting for the school bus, etc. when it's dangerously cold, but is it my imagination or have my kids  been home on vacation since before Christmas??  It seems that school has become a bit of a distant memory!

    Anyway, today I thought I'd share two really simple recipes with you that might just make you glad it's chilly outside!  A delicious Cream of Broccoli and Zucchini Soup and some yummy Cheesy Garlic Bread!! 

First.....the soup.  Here's what you'll need:

Cream of Broccoli and Zucchini Soup     (serves 4-6)

2 good-size broccoli crowns
2 small leeks, washed well
6 cups water
1 tsp. chicken base (use vegetable base for a vegetarian soup)
4 small zucchini (about 1#)
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
ricotta cheese, for garnish (opt.)
peeled and diced tomato, for garnish (opt.)
extra-virgin olive oil (opt.)

The first thing you want to do is divide the broccoli into stems and florets and slice the leeks cross-wise into rings.

Now, add them to a soup pot with just enough water to cover. (I used about 6 cups) Add the chicken base and bring to a boil.  

Cover the pot and cook over medium heat until the broccoli stems are easily pierced with a knife, about 5-10 minutes.
In the meantime, trim the zucchini and coarsely grate them.

When the broccoli stems have become tender, add the zucchini and continue to cook, covered, for another 5-10 minutes.

Now, puree the soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor or you can use an immersion blender.  Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Now, serve up your delicious soup in a nice bowl, garnished with a dollop of  ricotta cheese and some peeled and diced tomato. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and you're all set!

Recipe is my version of recipe found in "Ciao Italia Five Ingredient Favorites"

For printable recipe click here.

And now, for a yummy accompaniment.......Cheesy Garlic Bread

Cheesy Garlic Bread

1 loaf ciabatta or any good Italian bread or baguette
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tblsp. butter, softened
2 tblsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tblsp. chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup cubed or shredded mozzarella
3/4 cup shredded sharp provolone
freshly grated Pecorino Romano (as much as you like)
*Note: You can use all mozzarella and parmesan cheeses for a milder flavor.

Place the garlic,olive oil, butter, and herbs into a food processor and puree.

Slice the bread in half horizontally and smear with the pureed mixture.  Now, put the halves back together and wrap up in foil.  Place in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Carefully unwrap the loaf and sprinkle on the cheeses.

Return the loaf to the oven (still open and unwrapped) for 10-15 minutes or until everything is golden brown and bubbly.  Now, slice it up and serve to your happy family!!

Just look at all that cheesy goodness!!

Recipe is my version of one seen on Laura in the Kitchen.  

For printable recipe, click here.

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