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Aaah…the thrill of a new cookbook. I recently managed to procure a copy of Linda Frazier’s Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking, after salivating over it at friend’s recent dinner party. I don’t buy cookbooks all too often, usually saving myself for the yearly offerings of Lidia Bastianich or Jamie Oliver, but I knew I had to have this one after pouring over the seemingly endless color photographs, illustrating step by step instructions for creating 100’s of authentic Italian recipes.

Typically, when I get a new cookbook, I have to make something out of it right away, that very night if possible, but with a very limited time frame last night, I figured it would have to wait until the weekend…until I stumbled upon the recipe for Zuppa di Broccoletti.

Zuppa di Broccoletti
Makes 2 large or 4 appetizer servings

1 & ½ pounds broccoli florets and stems (stems pared of tough outer skin)
7 & ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

 

In a large soup pot, bring the stock to a low boil. After removing the broccoli’s tough outer skin, chop the broccoli into small bite-sized pieces, and transfer all of it to the soup pot. Allow to cook, covered, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn off the heat, and transfer 2/3 of the soup into a blender or food processor. Puree until almost smooth, and return to the soup pot. Stir well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh lemon juice just before serving.

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When I first read the short list of ingredients for this soup, I thought the author must be playing a joke on me. No butter? No olive oil? No cream? Where is the fat? Where is the flavor? Shouldn’t I be sauteeing some onions beforehand? However, after the week of late-night pizza and happy-hour cheesy artichoke dips I have been enjoying, I was eager to trust that a recipe so simple, and so healthy, could indeed be delicious…and it was! Adding lemon to broccoli does something incredible to the tastebuds, mellowing the vegetable’s flavor, and the light consistency is refreshing, making this a perfect soup for the warmer spring weather.

I think it goes without saying that this soup never had a chance with my husband. First of all, it’s green. Secondly….well, honestly, the soup didn’t have a fighting chance after the whole green thing. However, for those of you out there who eat broccoli, but don’t exactly love it, this is a recipe that will have you downing far more of the cruciferous vegetable than you would if you were eating that same old boring side of steamed veggies. Perhaps this would work well for Moms out there, eager to get a few more greens into the youngsters bellies? Considering broccoli’s health benefits, it’s worth a shot. Sulphoraphane, one of broccoli’s key phytonutrients, is known to fight cancer, repair sun damage, and detoxify your body’s cells. Oh…and those of us on Weight Watchers? This soup weighs in at a whopping 0 points. Zero! Zilch! Nada! The Holy Grail of Weight Watchers recipes! Now, if Ben and Jerry would just release a zero point ice cream, the world would be a better place…

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