(Recipe can be found in the cookbook Weeknights by Giada by Giada De Laurentiis)
Step by Step Instructions:
This delightful soups comes together in no time with the following items: Salt & Pepper, One large Leek, 4 cups of low sodium Chicken Broth, 4 ounces of fresh Goat Cheese at room temperature, 2 tablespoons of Butter at room temperature, Fresh Basil Leaves (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons is needed in total), 2 pounds of Fresh Asparagus, and Cooking Spray.
The first step is to make the herbed goat cheese, so that it can chill in the refrigerator while the soup cooks. In a small bowl, combine 4 ounces of goat cheese (make sure it’s at room temperature) and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil leaves. Combining with a fork or small spatula works really well here.
Then season the goat cheese with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper, and stir to combine.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a ton of room in my refrigerator for a cookie sheet, so I just grabbed a plate and lined it with wax paper. Then using either a small scoop or spoon that was sprayed with cooking spray, form the goat cheese mixture into small balls and place them on the lined plate. Pop the plate or cookie sheet in your fridge and move onto the soup. (Seriously, making the herbed goat cheese was ridiculously easy, so don’t be scared off by this part.)
I wanted to start prepping the leek because I knew they would need to soak for a bit. So to begin, I cut off the root end of the leek and then quite a bit of the green end of the leek. If you haven’t worked with leeks much, just note that you really only want to eat the white and light green parts of the leek, as the rest is quite tough.
I sliced the leek down the middle as you see above to allow for easy cutting. Then I thinly sliced the leeks so that they will cook quickly.
Leeks are always going to have some dirt/sand/grit in them, so be aware of this. To take care of any grime, I filled a large bowl with water and them added the sliced leeks to the bowl and stirred them around a bit. The idea is that the dirt/sand will fall to the bottom and the leeks float to the top.
After rinsing off the asparagus, just remember that the ends of the asparagus needs to be removed. You can find this by bending the asparagus and it will naturally break at the point where the asparagus is good. I did that as you can see in the photo above…
…and I used that as a guideline and cut the remaining asparagus to that same link. This makes it super easy and fast to prep.
Then slice the asparagus into about 1-inch pieces and put them in a bowl until you need them.
Then I used my handy-dandy spider tool to lift the leeks carefully out of the water and drained them on a paper towel.
In a large Dutch oven or pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
Then add the dried off leeks to the melted butter and stir them constantly for 3-4 minutes…
…until the leeks are nicely softened.
Then add 4 cups of chicken broth, the chopped asparagus, and 1/2 cup of freshly chopped basil. Don’t forget to season the soup with salt and pepper at this point.
Now turn the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes of simmering, the asparagus should be tender, which is how you know your soup is nearly done.
The final step is to blend the soup until smooth. You can transfer small batches of the soup to the blender and blend it that way. Or if you have a hand-held blender (or boat motor as my family and I like to call it) then you can blend the soup right in the pot, which makes for a lot less cleanup after dinner…I’m always in favor of having fewer dishes to clean, as I’m sure everyone is.
Once the soup is blended, spoon it into your serving bowls (shallow bowls work great here), and then grab the herb goat cheese balls from the refrigerator. Place 2-3 balls in each soup bowl and serve. The fun part is when you start stirring the soup and the heat from the soup begins to melt the goat cheese into the asparagus soup! So delightful and a great way to get lots of veggies in for a meal. Enjoy!
Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fresh goat cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large leek (white and pale green part only), thinly sliced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1. Line a small baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. using a fork, in a small bowl, combine the goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of the basil until smooth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste. Spray a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a round tablespoon measure with vegetable oil. Scoop the goat cheese into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate while you make the soup.
2. In a Dutch oven or a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring constantly until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth, asparagus, and remaining 1/2 cup basil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers and cook for about 15 minutes, until the asparagus is tender.
3. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a food processor or blender), blend the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the herbed goat cheese.