Monday, January 23, 2012

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

I really want to change the name of this to "broccoli, arugula and Romano cheese soup" because really that's what it is. But Gwyneth Paltrow calls this simply "broccoli and cheese soup" so we will just go with that. Things you should know about it:

A) It is really good
B) It is really good for you
C) My husband says we should eat a bowl once a week for the rest of our lives.

This one is easy and one might argue that you don't even need a recipe. Unless you are me. I (usually) always follow a recipe as written and then make the necessary changes to suit my tastes for the next time. That's not true. Well, it sort of is. See, I have a gift. I am a "recipe reader" by nature. Listen to this: I read recipes thoroughly and when I am done I know exactly what they will taste like in my head before I even start cooking. You might not think this is really a gift. Everyone can do this to some degree. We all know what tomatoes and garlic and olive oil tastes like. Ah, but I am being sincere when I say that after I read a recipe, I will know it shall I put this?...intimately.

I will know the texture
I will know how thick or thin something will be
How silky or soft, tender or chewy
I will know which spices could make it better, and how I could take it up a notch
I will know what is an unnecessary step or how I could take a shortcut the next time

I could go on here, but this is not a haiku and so I'll stop. My point is not merely that I have superstar awesome skills, but rather, I'm trying to tell you that this is my specialty. Listen, I am not the only one in the world who has this ability. If you are reading this and thinking "Hey, I can do that!", then you, my dear friend, are a "recipe reader" too. Some people can Irish dance. Some people can do perfect swan dives. Some people can add huge numbers in their head and multiply it by 16.3% and then divide it by 5 to the 3rd power.

I am not one of those people. Especially the last one.

But when I tell you a recipe is good you can trust me. Why? Because I am a "recipe reader"- which is not actually a real thing, but that's besides the point.

Broccoli for broccoli and cheese soup

Okay, like I was saying, you might not even need a recipe for this one. The recipe consists of sautéing an onion and garlic in olive oil, then adding broccoli florets to cook a few minutes. Next you'll add vegetable stock and simmer everything together until the broccoli is tender. Then you transfer it all to a blender, add a handful of arugula (or more), salt and pepper and blend baby blend. Then you pour it all back into your pot and add the Romano cheese until melted. Done.

Most broccoli and cheese soups are heavy and creamy and, not that there is anything wrong with that since I happen to love heavy and creamy, but it's also nice to know I can get a nice healthy bowl of soup with the same flavor of the other.

You can use different cheese for this like sharp cheddar or even Stilton, but the flavor will be milder and you'll need more cheese to make up for it so plan for that. I like the idea of less cheese so I stick to Romano.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup
serves 4-6

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 yellow onions, peeled and roughly diced
4 large stalks of broccoli (about 2-2 1/2 lbs) cut into small florets
2 quarts vegetable stock (8 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
2 cups of arugula (watercress would be good too) or more to taste
1/4-1/2c up of Romano or another strong, assertive cheese
Your best, highest-quality olive oil, for serving

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute for just a minute, or until fragrant. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 4 minutes, or until bright green. Add the stock, salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is just ender. Pour the soup into a blender and puree with the arugula until quite smooth. Be very careful when blending hot liquids. Start slowly and work in batches if necessary. Pour the soup back into the pot, stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese, taste, and add more if you'd like. Serve with extra black pepper and a drizzle of your best olive oil.


  1. i'm really craving soup these days. thanks for the post.... i'm on my way to the market now :)

  2. This is so simple, light, and sounds delicious! I can't wait to try this!

  3. This looks delicious! I love broccoli! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This looks amazing. I'll have to give it a try! :)

  5. this soup look amazing!! it is one of my husband's favorite soups.

  6. This looks delicious! Will have to try. ~caroline

  7. I have to thank you for my very first blog comment - you gave me the thrill of my month!! :)

    And, this soup looks amazing - adding it to my must-try list. I love reading recipes too - I can sit and read cookbooks all day! Though, I don't have the knack for knowing how a recipe will taste, how to improve it, etc. that you have - someday hopefully I'll get there.

  8. This sounds and looks just as good as I thought it would when you first mentioned you were making it. Can't wait to try it. I too am a "recipe reader" and I have to say this one is a winner. I can tell already. :)

  9. Just made this. Didn't have the greens, so I threw in some parsley and extra pepper. Delicious! :) Thanks. caroline

  10. Simple. Parsley/broccoli mix with a little bit more cheese.