Have you ever looked at a recipe and thought…”looks great, but no way, too much work”? That’s what I thought initially when looking at this one, recommended to me by my friend Karen and her daughter, Michelle. After all, Michelle has worked in a restaurant, she’s had training. I “sat” on the recipe almost two weeks before giving it a try. I kept looking at it, just thinking it was too difficult for me. But I was wrong! [These are not words I use often…just ask Glenn!] As beautiful as this soup is to look at, it takes basic skills and a little time to pull off. And the results are so rewarding! The taste…um…heavenly. The appearance…restaurant quality if I say so myself 😉 This recipe hails from the magazine “La Cucina Italiano”. I have been an avid reader of this magazine for years. I say “reader” and mean it, as I haven’t attempted too many of their recipes. Not sure why, maybe afraid of failure. But I have thoroughly enjoyed drooling over the photographs! And my success with this has definitely given me the courage to “go for it” in the future. Bravo Nancy! I mentioned this takes time to make. Most of the time is inactive, as the components require slow-simmering on the stove. But time is all I had on this particular day. This day was grooming day for my 3 “furry” kids. Due to the fact that 2/3 of them get car sick [ugh] I have a mobile groomer come to the house. She takes them out to her “souped-up” van for clipping, washing, drying and beautifying – which leaves me with close to 4 hours of dog-sitting. No one at my feet begging, no one springing to action at the sound of a knife hitting the cutting board [George loves carrots and thinks everything chopped is a carrot!] and no insane barking because someone has the nerve to take a walk down “their” street! A peaceful, no tripping over the dog kind of day! A day I could concentrate and enjoy being in the kitchen. I did alter the recipe [of course] a bit. It called for ricotta salata, which my store had the nerve to not have, and I substituted shaved Parmesan. Secondly, the tomato soup used fresh, skinned, seeded and diced tomatoes. I opted for a high quality, boxed diced tomato in its place. This soup is the perfect Saturday or Sunday project, using such wonderful, fresh ingredients. And remember, it does use basic skills. If you can chop a vegetable…you can make this! Ingredients Zucchini Puree: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use 1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick half moons Fine sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, leaves only, chopped 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes Parmigiano Reggiano shavings for garnish Ingredients Tomato Soup: 4 Campari, cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half 2 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use [plus more for drizzling] 26 oz can diced tomatoes 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 Tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth or water 5 medium basil leaves fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon sugar freshly ground black pepper 8 slices [1/2″ thick] of a baguette, crust removed Directions: Zucchini Puree: •In a large wide pot heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium heat; add zucchini, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of pepper. Stir to combine. •Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally until very tender [do not brown], about 50 minutes. •Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium heat; add onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, oregano and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine. •Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender and sweet [do not brown], about 45 minutes. Tomato Soup: •Heat oven to 400°F with racks in middle and upper third of oven. •Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange Campari [or grape or cherry] tomatoes cut side up on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon oil. Set aside while oven heats. •In a medium saucepan, heat remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons oil over medium-high heat; add onion, reduce heat to lowest setting and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. •Add garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes more. •Add tomatoes and their juices, broth, basil leaves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, sugar and generous pinch of pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer. •Cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded well, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile…: •Roast the prepared tomatoes on middle rack of oven until softened and slightly collapsed, about 18 minutes. •Arrange bread on a second baking sheet. Toast in oven on upper rack until lightly golden and dried out, about 8 minutes. •Cool tomatoes and bread on wire racks. •Remove Tomato Soup from heat and cover. Returning to Zucchini Puree: •In a blender combine onion mixture, zucchini and 1 cup of water. Puree to form a very thick soup. Return soup to pot. •Gentle reheat both soups until warmed through, but not piping hot, then remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste. Serving: •Serve soups together in wide shallow bowls, arranging from opposite sides of each bowl scant 3/4 cup zucchini puree first, then 1/2 cup tomato soup [soups will remain separate]. •Garnish with roasted tomatoes, torn toasts and shaved cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.