Parmesan Soup

Parmesan soup, creamy but not too heavy, is a delicious way to kick off soup season. (Victoria de la Maza)
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By Victoria de la Maza

I first tried this parmesan soup at Chez Nous restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, and was immediately in awe. This is my version, which has since become a go-to soup for dinners at home, and a trusty addition to my entertaining repertoire.

The original is served with lardons and garlic croutons. But as I can’t possibly let things be, I swap the lardons for sautéed mushrooms and add a drizzle of truffle oil for a touch of elegance.

This soup is creamy but not thick, incredibly flavorful but not overpowering. If you would like it to be even thicker and richer, you can also substitute half-and-half for heavy cream. I love it as is, with all the bits from the pan, but you can blend or strain it for a smoother texture if you like.

Do splurge on real Parmigiano-Reggiano. As it’s the base of the soup, the quality comes through.

parm soup on table

Parmesan soup, creamy but not too heavy, is a delicious way to kick off soup season. (Victoria de la Maza)

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 slices day-old bread, edges removed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, roughly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons truffle oil (optional)

In a stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the cheese, chicken broth, and half and half, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted. Season with salt and pepper and taste to adjust.

Make the garnish: In a sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook the bread cubes until golden on all sides. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Wipe the sauté pan clean, then add the remaining butter and oil and cook the mushrooms until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the mushrooms and the croutons, and drizzle with the truffle oil. Serve hot.

Victoria de la Maza is an award-winning cookbook author, columnist, and international TV host. Passionate about great food, she combines American traditions with her European heritage to create classic-with-a-twist recipes and ideas for stylish entertaining at home.

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