I love the first chilly evenings of early autumn because they turn my thoughts to the comfort and flavors of homemade soups. What pleasure! And what could be better than a simple soup made from the bounty of harvest produce?
This light but flavorful offering from one of my favorite cookbook authors even has a nouvelle twist: an optional pesto foam made with whipped cream that makes every bowl into a work of art. But even without the foam, this soup is a gem, with healthy garlic and onion and the refreshing zip of lemon to liven things up. Read the recipe for Lemony Summer Squash Soup here.
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cups summer squash, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups good-quality vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Finely grated lemon zest, to taste
Optional Pesto Foam
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup prepared pesto (you can use a good store-bought version)
1. In a soup pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the onion, squash, garlic, and a bit of salt and pepper. Cover and allow vegetables to soften, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
2. Add broth, lemon juice, and lemon zest, bring mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook at simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, if you’re using the pesto foam, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks, adding sugar gradually as you go. Fold in the pesto and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. When you’re ready to eat, pour the soup into individual bowls, and pass the foam, allowing each person to add a dollop to their bowl.
Serves 5 to 6.
By Cait Johnson, inspired by Soup Makes the Meal, by Ken Haedrich (Harvard Common Press, 2001).