Creamy Winter Vegetable Soup


For the soup:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 leeks, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 parsnips, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 bulb fennel, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • A bundle of fresh herbs, such as parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram or rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
For the cheesy croutons:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups diced stale white peasant-style bread
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

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