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I like this elegant soup because I can make it ahead of time for a party or for a light meal. The little marbles of goat cheese create a creamy swirl as they melt into the hot soup -- beautiful!
Work: 20 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped basil leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1. Line a small baking sheet with parchment. Using a fork combine goat cheese and 2 tbsp basil. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Grease a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a round tablespoon measure with cooking spray. Scoop goat cheese mixture into balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate while you make the soup.
2. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add leek and cook, stirring constantly until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth, asparagus, remaining 1/2 cup basil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that the mixture simmers and cook until asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Blend soup in two batches until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with herbed goat cheese. Serves 4 to 6.
Recipes reprinted from Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner. Copyright © 2012 by Giada De Laurentiis. Photos copyright © 2012 by Amy Neunsinger. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.