In this column we share the cuisine and recipes of Italy and our Italian American communities. Each month we feature recipes curated from our research and those shared by LGI readers.
Food and cooking are important aspects of our cultural identity and sharing recipes is one way for us to connect to our roots and to one another!
Creamy Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup
dalla cucina di italianfoodforever.com
Parsnips are not a vegetable that I often use in my kitchen. Still, over the holidays, I made parsnip puree to accompany our holiday prime rib meal, along with a couple of other sides. The puree was delicious, with an earthy sweetness that we all enjoyed. I decided then and there that I had to develop a few more recipes for parsnips!
If you are unfamiliar with parsnips, it is a root vegetable related to carrots and parsley. Parsnips are a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Resembling a white carrot, it is a long tuberous root with cream-colored skin and flesh. Left in the ground to mature, it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. Parsnips are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and other essential micronutrients.
To serve my soup, I added a dollop of homemade basil pesto I swirled on top and a sprinkling with finely chopped toasted walnuts. The flavor of this soup develops as it sits, so it is even better the next day. Feel free to double this recipe to portion and freeze the soup to enjoy at a future date.
~Deborah Mele, www.italianfoodforever.com
Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 Large Head of Garlic
2 lbs. Parsnips
4 T. Olive Oil, Divided
Salt & Pepper To Taste
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
4 C. Good Quality Vegetable Broth
1 T. Lemon Juice
4 T. Basil Pesto
1/3 C. Finely Chopped Toasted Walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the outer leaves from the head of garlic, then using a sharp knife cut off the top part of the garlic head leaving the cloves exposed. Wrap the head first in parchment paper, then in aluminum foil, and place in a small oven-proof dish. Bake the garlic for 40 minutes until tender and aromatic, then set aside to cool. Peel the parsnips and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place the parsnips in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, and season with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the parsnips on top. Roast until the parsnips are fire tender and beginning brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the parsnips for 10 minutes, then place in a blender along with the broth. Squeeze the softened garlic into the blender, and puree everything until creamy smooth. Pour the soup into a pot and heat until warm. Stir in the lemon juice, then taste the soup and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve the soup warm with a spoonful of pesto swirled in and sprinkle on the toasted walnuts on top.