Cauliflower Soup

I love soup…I believe I inherited this soup-loving gene from my mother. But regardless, nothing is better than a cup of soup, and the soup season is winding down, with springing forward and warm sunny days…so this may well be the last batch I have in my fridge (thanks to Mama Cheater Bite, who brought it down this weekend).  So, needless to say, I am savoring every last bit.

This is a nice hearty soup, the Italians call it minestra, so it isn’t super brothy.  Serves 6+ large dinner portions or many smaller dinner & lunch portions

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 lbs. cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium red onion, diced into 1/8 inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 36 oz. can Italian tomatoes, squeezed (tomatoes only, not the sauce)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb. mezza ziti (or similar pasta of your choice)
  • fresh thyme, to taste
  • 1 or 2 tbsp (sauce only) from a can of chipotle peppers
  • 1 tbsp golden demi-glace (Whole Foods sells it in chicken, veal or vegetable or you can get it here)

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add cauliflower and stir for about 10 minutes until just tender and lightly golden brown.

Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, pepper flakes – cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add chicken stock and tomatoes, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 25 more minutes, until cauliflower is very tender.

Add demi-glace.  Add enough water or stock to bring the liquid back to its original level (it will have cooked down) and add salt and pepper and thyme.

Add the ziti straight to the cauliflower mixture, and cook at a low boil for 2 minutes longer than the box calls for.  Turn off the heat and adjust the consistency with broth or water if necessary (soup should be the consistency of porridge – not too brothy).  Check for desired salt & pepper taste, divide between large bowls and serve with pieces for crusty Tuscan bread.  Buon Appetito!

adapted from: Mario Batali

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