Even though the temperature reads around 60 degrees, the air is chilly and raw, and it's a perfect day for a steaming bowl of soup. As I walk around the garden, looking for new buds and leaves popping up, I notice an odd thing: all the flowers today are purple. This is just as the wave of yellow (daffodils of various shades, and the forsythia) is fading. In the above picture, from the left, you see violets, catmint, vinca, and lungwort, whose blue flowers fade to magenta pink as they age. One reason my passion for gardening never flags is the constant surprises that appear every day - every day without snow cover, that is.
Ah, yes, the soup. Having just bought a very fresh bunch of broccoli rabe ( also known as rapini) I wanted a soup that included a lot of that wonderful green. While broccoli rabe can have a slight edge of bitterness, that can be smoothed out by using it with beans or pasta - another way I like to use it. It came out beautifully, with the tasty broccoli rabe melding perfectly with the white beans and herbs, and a perfect chilly day soup.
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 T. olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 cups roughly cut broccoli rabe (rapini)
a 15.5 ounce can of cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
2 t. fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
a bay leaf
2 t. minced fresh rosemary
1 t. dried basil, or 1 T. fresh basil, minced
salt and pepper to taste
curls of parmesan cheese to garnish
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then toss in the onions and garlic and stir, with the heat on medium.
When the onions have softened, add the chicken stock or water, the broccoli rabe, the beans, and the lemon juice and herbs.
Cook on medium for approximately 20 minutes, stirring gently every so often.
Check for salt and pepper, and serve piping hot with the curls of parmesan.