Another year begins with all the promise of a new fad diet. You have attached yourself to another regimen of – let’s see – eggs and water on Mondays – only grapefruit juice on Tuesday etc. – 90 laps a day up and down the driveway – and you are a week into a new and rather costly gym membership. There is no end in sight to your devotion to the transformation of the “new you”. You are hopelessly committed, and there will be no deviation from the program. Not bloody likely!
Soooooo – when you come back to reality and are desperate for something not only healthy but amazingly tasty – but not on your grapefruit diet, ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP will be waiting for you. (Did she just say –healthy?) You can bet your last rigatoni, I did. This soup is creamy, thick, satisfying, amazingly delicious and – wait a minute – creamy? Healthy and creamy might be just a little contradictory, don’t you think? Not necessarily so! So, it’s not grapefruit juice, but it’s not a ticket to the cardiac ward either. Moderation folks! Step off that treadmill for just a moment, and follow my lead.
You can create the creamiest soup without one drop of cream – by pureeing your vegetables. To derive even more flavor – try roasting those vegetables first! I like to use chicken broth for this, but there is no reason why you couldn’t substitute a good vegetable broth. The herbs are fresh, of course, as I feel like they extend the best flavor. You’ll notice a couple of teaspoons of White Balsamic Vinegar in this soup which I think brightens the savory and roasted flavors just a little. It works!
This is a great choice for these cold winter evenings – either as a first course or a main course. There is something about the addition of the red pepper flakes that helps to warm you right down to your freshly pedicured toes. I like a crusty Italian loaf with this soup – perhaps a few slices drizzled with Extra Virgin and toasted in the oven. A couple of strips of roasted red pepper on those slices just might be more excitement than I can stand! You are going to love this soup. Troppo bella!
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP
Prep: 25 min.
Cook: 40 min.
1 Large Head of Cauliflower – cut into pieces (florets or clusters)
1 Large Onion – cut into several pieces (you do not have to chop it)
2 Cloves of Fresh Garlic – sliced
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme – chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley – chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh Sage – chopped
1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 c. Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Montasio, or Grana Padano
5 C. Warm Chicken Broth (you can use vegetable if you like) – use less broth if your head of cauliflower is not large – amount of broth also depends on how thick you like the soup
2 Tsp. White Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Butter
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Toss together: cauliflower florets, onion and garlic pieces. Drizzle the mixture with a little olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Mix until coated.
Spread the mixture out on a sheet pan, and sprinkle with the herbs and the red pepper flakes. Spread the Parmigiano over the top of the vegetables and herbs. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes – until the cauliflower is tender and golden.
When finished place the roasted mixture in a food processor and process until ground. While running the processor, slowly pour in the warm broth until you get the thickness and consistency that you like. Use more broth for a thinner soup – less for thicker. The amount of broth will also depend on how large your cauliflower is. Add the broth slowly, and you be the judge! You may have to finish in 2 batches depending upon how large your food processor is.
Add in the vinegar and the butter and process again. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
DONE! (You will love that you can make this ahead and freeze it also!)
Serve: I like this ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP very warm and thick. It is simple, rustic, and totally appropriate for any time of year – but especially satisfying in cold weather. As my mother would say, “Eat it – it’s good for you!”
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography