Rich Zucchini Soup

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 45 minutes

Eggs, a handful of raw rice, and grated zucchini instantly turn a simple broth into a luxurious soup, much like the silky soups and sauces of Greece and Italy. The idea is not to see the eggs but to use them for thickening and subtle flavoring. It’s a technique that you can use over and over and one that may seem slightly challenging at first but is basically foolproof.

You can also use other vegetables to similar effect here; in fact, this dish is a perfect showcase for whatever is around, since the vegetables remain colorful and brightly flavored. Try freshly shucked corn kernels, shredded green cabbage, thinly sliced leeks, grated carrots, grated sweet potato, or grated winter squash.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup short-grain rice

1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini or other summer squash, grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 cups vegetable stock or water

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

01 Put the oil in a deep skillet or a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil, then continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

02 Add the zucchini, along with a light sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir constantly for a couple of minutes, until the zucchini starts to wilt and release its liquid. When the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, stir in the stock, bring the soup to a boil, and reduce the heat so the mixture simmers steadily. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the rice is tender and the vegetables are starting to melt into the soup.

03 In a large heatproof bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until creamy, then whisk in the lemon juice. Take a ladle of broth from the pot (be careful not to include too many vegetables) and slowly add the broth to the eggs, a few drops at a time at first, whisking constantly so the eggs don’t curdle. Repeat once or twice more, until the egg mixture is thick, smooth, and very warm.

04 Make sure the soup is not boiling, but bubbling gently. Slowly add the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and, if you like, the cheese.