Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Country Living magazine put out a list this year: 50 Ways to Have the Best Summer Ever. My family has been checking items off this list throughout the summer. We drank lemonade on our front porch, visited our farmer's market, made our own popsicles, and made something with fresh peaches.

Two items on the list are "make a dish with your backyard bounty" and "make a summer soup."

And we checked both of those off the list with this vegetable and polenta soup.

I got some push back from my husband when I told him I was making this. To say he is not a fan of polenta would an understatement. But this soup won him over. The polenta, despite the recipe title, is not a star ingredient. It sings background, thickening the soup, perfect harmony to the fresh vegetables up front and center.

So as summer days become fewer and fewer, make the most of what the days and your garden have to offer. Dive into a steaming bowl of this soup.

Rustic Vegetable and Polenta Soup

Recipe slightly modified from Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 4 servings


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeds removed, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth for a vegetarian dish)
  • 1/3 cup instant polenta, such as Gia Russa
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the basil, rosemary, garlic, tomatoes, and zucchini, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a slow boil. Slowly stir in the polenta and cook until the soup thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

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