Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stumbled-upon savory prompts
cooking of delicious zucchini soup

On a fresh basil run recently, I came across an herb that I’d never seen in the store before, and that I’d never used: Savory.
   I grabbed a couple of packages. It looked so tempting, with its little green leaves. I couldn’t wait to try it in a dish.
   The package didn’t specify which type of savory it was, summer or winter. I suspect I bought the summer variety, which is apparently more common and readily available than winter savory.
   I went home and started to comb a couple of trusty recipe sites on the web until I found one that used savory and looked right up my alley: Summer Squash and Onion Soup with Toasted Almonds (click for the recipe).
   Although the recipe called for summer squash and/or zucchini, which are in their best in August and September, I wanted to try the soup right away. It looked hearty and delicious for a winter evening.
   It was a good choice – this was one delicious soup. Everyone in the family will love the hearty mix of zucchini and angel-hair pasta.
   We used zucchini as no other type of summer squash was available. Since we weren’t able to find sweet onions such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, which the recipe calls for, we used yellow onions. And if you can't find savory like I did, thyme can be used instead.
   For the angel-hair pasta, we also substituted Catelli Smart spaghettini, which is thinner than spaghetti.
   The soup was easy to make.
   Four thinly-sliced medium onions, minced garlic and minced ginger are cooked until golden in melted butter. The recipe says to use a large sauté pan for this, but my husband used a large stock pot instead, as ingredients were to be added that ultimately would result in soup.
   The onions will cook down until golden in color, just as the recipe says, and they will go from crisp to very mushy. It took my husband slightly less than the recommended sauté time in the recipe to cook the onions – he needed about 17 minutes as opposed to the called-for 20 minutes.
   Dry sherry, chicken stock, the dry pasta and zucchini are added. The mixture is brought to a boil, then boiled for about three minutes. The soup is removed from the heat and the savory or thyme added.
   The soup is served sprinkled with toasted sliced almonds and freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

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