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Very Green Broccoli Soup

Very Green Broccoli SoupA favorite recipe of Chef Michael Chiarello, the culinary genius behind Bottega restaurant in the Napa Valley, and an Emmy-winning TV chef who appears on Food Network and Bravo.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
Gray salt (or sea salt)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
5 cups Progresso chicken broth (from two 32-ounce cartons)
2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
1 cup whipping cream or buttermilk (if using buttermilk, use 1 teaspoon lemon peel)
Freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup Progresso panko crispy bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Cooking Directions:

  1. Cut broccoli florets from stems. Peel tough outer skin from stems; trim off fibrous ends. Cut stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. In four-quart Dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Stir in onion and celery; season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together gremolata ingredients; set aside.
    Stir thyme, broccoli stems and broth into soup. Heat to boiling. Cook uncovered over medium heat about three minutes. Stir in broccoli florets; cook about seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is very tender. Stir in spinach and lemon peel (spinach will wilt).
  4. In blender, cover and purée soup in small batches. (At this point, soup can be covered and refrigerated up to one day or frozen up to one month.) Return soup to Dutch oven; reheat over medium-low heat. Stir in cream; season to taste with additional salt and the pepper.
  5. Ladle soup into warm individual soup bowls. Sprinkle one tablespoon gremolata onto each serving. Pass remaining gremolata at table.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of; through ARA Content.