2 pounds small to medium zucchini (about 5) stems trimmed but not peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32 oz.) carton reduced-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
6 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Slice part of one zucchini into julienne strips to equal 1/2 cup strips, cutting each julienne strip about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Set aside to use at garnish at end.
2. Quarter all the remaining zucchini lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and carrot, cook stirring frequently about 3-5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add jalapeno and garlic, cook 1 minute.
4. Add broth and zucchini cubes, season lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until zucchini is very tender.
5. Add basil and cook 2-3 minutes.
6. Remove soup from heat. Carefully, using an emersion blender, blend soup until smooth. (Or allow soup to cool slightly and ladle – in batches – into a blender.) Blend soup until smooth, not frothy.
7. Return to stove and reheat if necessary.
8. To serve, ladle into serving bowls and top each with julienne strips of zucchini and sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese on top.