This soup recipe is from Mario Batali's book "Molto Batali."

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Makes eight to 10 servings as a first course

1 pound fresh broccoli

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Spanish onions, chopped into 1/4-inch dice

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1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

5 fresh garlic cloves: 2 thinly sliced, 3 halved

Sea salt

One 3-inch piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind

2 cans (16-ounce) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and well drained

10 hand-cut slices of crusty whole-grain bread, toasted

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Remove and discard the tough end from the broccoli stems, and coarsely chop the broccoli.

2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the red-pepper flakes and the sliced garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the broccoli and 1 tablespoon of sea salt, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 6 cups hot water and the cheese rind. Raise the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Remove the cheese rind, cut it into 1/4-inch cubes, and set them aside. Transfer the soup, in small batches, to a blender or food processor, cover tightly, and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the Dutch oven and add the cheese rind pieces. Season to taste with salt, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

4. Rub both sides of the toasted bread with the cut sides of the halved garlic cloves. Tear the toasts into bite-sized pieces, and divide them evenly among warmed soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the toast pieces in each bowl. Top each serving with grated Parmigiano, and serve.

From Mario Batali’s “Molto Batali”

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