Zucchini-Rice Soup with Basil and Parmesan

This recipe is from “The Flexitarian Table” by Peter Berley (2007, Houghton-Mifflin).

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (or the equivalent of green onions or young spring onions)
1 to 1½ lbs summer squash (i.e., zucchini), cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup thinly sliced garlic or several garlic scapes
4 cups water
⅓ cup basmati rice
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus additional sliced leaves for garnish
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra
Freshly-ground black pepper

In a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat 2 TBS of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 tsp salt and toss well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the summer squash and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in the water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and basil, return to a boil, and simmer, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes, until the rice is tender. Stir in the cheese and the remaining 2 TBS olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with sliced basil leaves. Pass additional grated Parmesan at the table.

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