Paul Bertolli's Cauliflower Soup

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PAUL BERTOLLI'S CAULIFLOWER SOUP
(slightly adapted from Cooking by Hand)

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or more extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly, about 2 cups
a pinch of Kosher salt
1 head cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds, after green stems are removed), core removed and broken into florets
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
5 1/2 cups water, divided
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling

Make the Soup:
        In a large heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, heat the butter and the olive oil. Cook the onions in the olive oil and butter with a pinch of salt over low heat without letting them brown for 15 minutes.
        Add the cauliflower, the 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1/2 cup of the water. Raise the heat to a boil and then turn down to a simmer, cover the pot and simmer the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender.
        Add the rest of the water, 4 1/2 cups, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes covered.
        Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender, preferably high speed, until very smooth and creamy. Let the soup stand, covered, for 20 minutes, which will allow it to thicken a little more. To serve, if desired, drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 8 servings.      YUM!


LESSONS Learned:
1. Fresh is best. Make sure that the cauliflower is pure white, with no dark brown spots or wilted green leaves, which indicates an older less flavorful vegetable.
2. Don't go crazy breaking up the florets. They will all cook down, so uneven size pieces are ok.
3. If you want to make this vegan, simply eliminate the butter and use 3 Tablespoons of olive oil.
4. You can halve the recipe or freeze any leftovers for another meal.