In the world of broccoli, florets usually have all the fun. That is, until our Test Kitchen figured out a way to use the cruciferous vegetable's leftover stems: as a base for cannellini-broccoli soup. After a quick sauté with leeks, the stems are simmered with chicken broth, beans and a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, then puréed until light and creamy. It's a clever way to turn an oft-overlooked piece of produce into something unusually tasty.
Creamy Cannellini-Broccoli Soup
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 servings
Cook Time: 35 minutes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ to 1 pound broccoli stems--trimmed, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 dried bay leaf
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (optional)
½ cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1. In a large pot set over medium heat, add the olive oil, broccoli stems, leek and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the broccoli is tender and the leek is soft, about 10 minutes (reduce the heat if the vegetables begin to brown).
2. To the pot, add the chicken broth, water, bay leaf, black pepper, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (if using) and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the cheese rind. Transfer the soup to a blender and purée until smooth, puréeing the soup in batches if necessary.
3. Return the soup to a clean pot set over medium heat. Heat until warm. Taste and add more salt if needed. Divide among 6 bowls and serve sprinkled with the fresh dill. Calories per Serving: 70; Sodium: 770mg; Total Carbohydrate: 9g; Fiber: 2g; Fat: 2.5g