I know, I know…zucchini and basil aren’t in season quite yet, but in California’s central valley it sure feels like they could be. Along the river the California poppies are all in bloom, as well as the Spanish Lavender in my garden. It’s only April but I’ve got all of the windows open and it looks like it’s going to get pretty warm today.
Thanks to the Sacramento Public Library I am currently enjoying a copy of Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead cookbook, where I found a recipe for Zucchini Basil Soup. While not available locally just yet, zucchini was at a decent price this last week, so I picked some up.
This, I loved. Everything just came together – zucchini, basil (in the form of basil pesto), chicken stock, nutmeg, white wine (Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc), garlic, onion and red pepper flakes. Are you like me and think soup on a warm spring evening is weird? Well, with this soup it’s not. It was perfect. You could taste every ingredient (even more so the next day when those red pepper flakes had a chance to really let loose with the flavor). I can’t imagine this soup minus anything – each part was essential to the whole.
I did a few things differently. Instead of fresh basil I used 1/8-1/4 cup of basil pesto. Fresh basil’s temperamental unless it’s fresh out of your garden and I’m not very good at growing it anyway. Rather than whisking the parmesan into the soup at the end I used it and the yogurt as garnish only. It worked great and then I could refrigerate what was leftover for lunches and not worry about the parmesan when reheating in the microwave at work.
If you live somewhere sunny enjoy this outside with a nice glass of chilled white wine. If you’re somewhere spring hasn’t quite made an appearance, well, make this and pretend.