out of necessity, really February 23, 2010


Usually when you see a soup recipe on this blog, it's because I need to share something with you. Either that or I'm going through a stressful time. When I'm in doubt or feeling frazzled, I turn to my soups. This recipe is really no exception. We've been really busy around here – burning the candle at both ends. My schedule only gets more hectic for the next few weeks and I have a good bit on my mind. It's been so busy that most of the groceries we've purchased recently are lying dormant in our fridge. I came back from my out of town trip this past weekend determined to salvage whatever I could and not let it all go to waste. 

This simple potato soup gets dressed up a little bit by lots of things starting with the letter P: Parmesan cheese stirred in at the end and a dollop of parsley pesto. I made the pesto out of what was in our fridge: curly parsley, some fennel fronds (still attached to the bulb, mind you) and some almonds I found in the cabinet. It's got great taste and adds a fresh zing to the creamy, slightly salty soup. Some mildly seasoned croutons would be a great addition to this, as well.

Potato Parmesan Soup with Parsley-Fennel Pesto – inspired by this recipe by Donna Hay 

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into even chunks
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh chopped curly parsley
  • 1 cup fresh chopped fennel fronds, tough stems removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh (un-toasted) slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

For the soup: In a medium stockpot, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and heat to medium. When warm, add shallot and sauteĆ© until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add potatoes, stock, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add milk and bring back to a low boil. Turn off heat and remove bay leaf. Stir in grated parmesan. Using an immersion blender, puree soup to desired texture. If you use a blender rather than an immersion blender, make sure soup is cool before blending it to prevent a kitchen explosion. Taste soup at this point and add S&P to taste – the soup should be plenty salty from the Parmesan cheese. If you don't serve immediately, reheat soup before serving.

For the pesto: In a food processor, add parsley, fennel and almonds. Pulse until finely ground. While the processor is on, drizzle in 1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. If desired, salt and pepper to taste. Top soup with a dollop of this pesto and swirl it in. Store unused pesto in an airtight storage container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Maria Feb 23, 2010 08:02 am

The pesto adds the perfect finish.

iamchanelle Feb 23, 2010 08:02 am

sounds simply perfect.

Courtney Feb 23, 2010 08:02 am

This looks so good! I can’t wait to make it.

carolyn Feb 23, 2010 08:02 am

gorgeous, gorgeous! and pesto makes everything better!

Sean Feb 23, 2010 12:02 pm

Amazed at how you make every single soup look so tasty. Must be why you’re a talented food stylist ;)

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Feb 23, 2010 01:02 pm

This looks like a very comforting soup, good enough to cure those frazzled days. Take care of yourself! :)

megan Feb 23, 2010 03:02 pm

This sounds like a perfect soup. Love the flavors and the pesto swirled in at the end. I think this would be kind of a fun soup to serve for St. Patricks day!

joey Feb 23, 2010 05:02 pm

Love the way this perfectly pale soup looks with the swirl of brilliant green…
Good soup does make thing better! :)

my spatula Feb 24, 2010 06:02 am

lovely shot! i’m such a fan of a simple potato soup! one of my favorites.

Healthy Foods Blog Feb 24, 2010 08:02 am

Very astonishing! Really looks great! So simple yet so perfect.

arugulove Feb 24, 2010 11:02 am

This looks fantastic. My husband in particular would really, really like this.

Sara Feb 24, 2010 02:02 pm

yayayaya! its letting me comment! Love the swirl of the makeshift pesto. I am a big fan of inventing with what needs to be used as well, nice work my dear :)

The Teacher Cooks Feb 25, 2010 08:02 am

Absolutely beautiful photo! This soup looks divine with the pesto.

Cookin' Canuck Feb 27, 2010 09:02 pm

What a great take on potato soup. Not only does the pesto look pretty, I’m sure it tastes bright and fresh, too.

Megan Feb 28, 2010 06:02 pm

This sounds delicious! What a unique take on potato soup-I love the addition of the almonds! I can’t wait to make this-it sounds so satisfying!

Tv Food and Drink Mar 1, 2010 05:03 pm

Looks delicious. Thank you for sharing. Will make it soon and thank you then too!

Soups A Plenty! › shutterbean Dec 2, 2010 08:12 pm

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