Romanesco Broccoli and Turnip Soup
Of course the common green broccoli can be used when making this soup, but if you can find broccolo Romanesco, also known as cavolo Romano or Roman cauliflower, you are on your way to eating like a true Italian. The Romanesco broccoli is technically an edible flower and is easily recognized by its eye-catching fractal appearance. It is grown in the region of Lazio, home to Rome and hence its name. Here in Italy, you find it typically consumed raw, steamed, boiled, roasted or sauteed. It has a delicate nutty flavor making it easily adaptable to various preparations and is a favorite ingredient in Italian soups.
In a large pot, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the shallots continue cooking until translucent but not brown; 3-4 minutes.
Add the turnips, broccoli and potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the broth and add the bay leaves, thyme, nutmeg, cumin, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables can easily be pierced with a fork; about 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves. If using a blender, let the soup cool first. If using a handheld immersion mixer, you can immediately purée the vegetable mixture until smooth.
Add the cream and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and reheat the soup over medium heat until hot.
Ladle into bowls and topped with a few cubes of Parmesan crusts, Parmesan shavings or chopped chives, if desired. Buon appetito!