Slightly Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis via Food Network
(Makes 4 to 6 Servings --1/2 cup)
1/2 cup (4 oz) goat cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
vegetable oil cooking spray
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large leek, white and light green part only, finely sliced (I used 2 leeks)
(I added 2 cloves garlic, minced)
(I added 1 tsp celery salt & 1 tsp dried basil)
4 cups low sodium broth (chicken or veg)
2 lbs medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
(I added 2 tsp fresh lemon juice)
Using a fork, in a small bowl, combine the goat cheese and basil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a round tablespoon measure sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray, scoop the goat cheese into balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Soup: In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring constantly until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. (I added the garlic, celery salt and dried basil and sauteed for another minute here.) Add the broth, asparagus and basil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. (I stirred in two teaspoons of lemon juice here.) Keep the soup warm over low heat.
To serve: Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the herbed goat cheese. (I also garnished with shaved asparagus and a couple of basil leaves.)
Cook's Note: The soup can also be pureed by ladling, in batches, into a food processor or blender and blended until smooth.
(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
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