Zucchini Zuppa with Focaccia Crouton - Makes 12 cups

To distinguish the different Italian soups, "zuppa" always contains bread of some form and "minestra" is a lighter soup
with short pasta in place of the bread. The focaccia croutons provide the balance of flavors and texture as well as a quintessential addition to the traditional Caesar salad.

8 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large onions, chopped
3 pounds zucchini, sliced
3 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced
10 cups chicken stock
24 leaves of basil chiffonade
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 teaspoons each sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste

  • Heat the oil and half the butter in a stockpot and sauté the onions over low heat until soft but not colored.
  • Add the zucchini to the onions and continue sautéing over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes to the pan and stir over moderate heat for 3-4 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring slowly to boil, cover the pan, and simmer over moderate heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Purée the soup in blender until smooth.
  • Return soup to the pot and add one half of the chopped basil, chopped garlic, and remaining butter, and Parmesan.
  • Bring to simmer until completely blended and butter fully melted.
  • Ladle hot soup into bowls and top with remaining basil chiffonade.


  • Place a slice of crusty bread at the bottom of each warmed soup bowl and pour the warmed soup over the bread.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan and basil.


1 focaccia bread, from bakery

  • Cut into 1-inch x 1-inch cubes and fry in hot oil over stove top until golden brown.
  • Remove to paper towels and sprinkle with garlic salt and grated Parmesan cheese while crouton is still hot. 
  • Ladle hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan and basil chiffonade, and top with Focaccia crouton.

Frozen Asset:

  • Flash-freeze the focaccia croutons and store in zip bag.
  • Freeze any leftover soup in zip bag or nonmetal container for up to 3 months


  • Use the croutons for a Caesar salad and variety of soups.
  • These also make great snacks.

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