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
– For the soup: In a medium stockpot, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and heat to medium. When warm, add shallot and sauteé 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.