Zucchini Cheddar Soup

4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 onions, chopped
3 1/2 lbs mixed summer squashes, sliced
Coarse salt
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound best cheddar, shredded

For the cheese croutons
2 large slices hearty bread (like farm bread)
1/4 pound best cheddar, shredded

For the soup
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it stops sizzling, add the onions, squash, and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the vegetables have collapsed and released their juices, about 10 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and bring to a boil. Then pour in the stock and add the basil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. The squash should be very tender, almost falling apart. Let the soup cool for a while, so it doesn't erupt when you puree it.

For the cheese croutons
Heat the broiler while the soup simmers. Toast the bread in a toaster and place on a baking sheet. Cover with the shredded cheddar and slip under the broiler. Watch carefully, and leave it in just long enough for the cheese to melt and start to brown. Let the toasts cool, then cut into squares - how big is up to you.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender. Wipe out the saucepan and return the soup to it.

Bring the soup back to a simmer. Stir in the cheddar by handfuls, letting each batch melt before adding the next. Check for salt and pepper.

Serve in deep bowls with the croutons.

-Roy Finamore, Tasty