A big pot of Italian broccoli soup is the epitome of comfort food that’s good for you. It is a simple, rustic dish that will ring all your carby comfort zone bells.
It’s very easy to make. And, if you’re a brassica lover like I am, you definitely want to have this dish in your recipe arsenal.
I only recently discovered it myself. But, I already know it will be finding it’s way to my table on a regular basis.
I found that there are a lot of different versions of broccoli soup out there on the interweb that are cloaking themselves as Italian broccoli soup.
Some of them are nothing more than cream of broccoli soup. It’s really pretty misleading. So, let’s chat for a minute about just exactly what Italian broccoli soup is …
WHAT IS ITALIAN BROCCOLI SOUP?
This soup is not cream based. It is a broth based soup that contains minimal common kitchen ingredients.
The sheer simplicity of the recipe is what makes it shine. It is basically very well cooked broccoli, like mushy even, swimming in a tasty broth along with the starch of your choice.
The starches that are traditionally used in this soup are rice, orzo, acini di pepe, or stelline. Apart from the rice they are all smaller pastas, which is important for the texture of this dish.
This soup is meant to have a very soft texture in your mouth. A mushy goodness, much like that of a yellow split pea or butternut squash soup.
It touts a rich, nutty parmigiano, romano, or asiago cheese, as opposed to the cheddar found in the better know cream of broccoli soup recipe. Setting it apart from it’s rival.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE
This Italian broccoli soup recipe uses very basic ingredients. You likely already have them in your kitchen.
Here’s what you’ll need …
- BROCCOLI – Fresh broccoli is the star of the show in this recipe.
- CHICKEN BROTH – If you have homemade chicken stock/broth that’s a great way to go for this dish. If not a bouillon paste is the next best thing.
- GARLIC – Fresh garlic cloves really make a difference in this recipe. Granulated garlic can be used if you don’t have fresh cloves.
- SALT, PEPPER, PARSLEY, AND CRUSHED RED PEPPER – This soup is very simply spiced, and you’ll find that it is perfectly done.
- PARMESAN CHEESE – Fresh grated parmesan cheese will shine in this soup.
- RICE – Basic white rice is my preferred choice for this soup.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN BROCCOLI SOUP
This is a one pot and done recipe. Unless, of course, you don’t have the rice already cooked. I usually batch cook rice if I plan to cook with it that week. So, for me, it’s a one pot deal. AND I love that!
The first thing you want to do is cook the broccoli. Put it in a soup pot, pour in just enough broth to cover it, and toss in all of the seasonings. And allow it to simmer until the broccoli is nice and soft.
Once it’s cooked all the way, use an immersion blender to puree the broccoli. You can leave some small chunks of broccoli for texture. But you want about 75% of it to be pureed into the broth.
Add the rice, parmesan cheese and remaining broth. Stir well and return to the stovetop to heat through. Don’t continue to cook the soup, just heat it and remove it from the stove. And you’ve got yourself an incredibly delicious pot of Italian broccoli soup.
HOW TO SERVE ITALIAN BROCCOLI SOUP
Italian broccoli soup is served just like any other soup. It does not need to be paired with anything, as it really is a meal in itself. It can be served with a salad of a great light lunch, or it can be used as an appetizer for an evening meal.
Some people like to top off their soup with croutons or crackers. It’s a good choice.
I prefer to eat this soup with a few slices of crusty artisan garlic bread. That’s it. That’s all I need. A big bowl of this amazing soup and a slice or two of homemade garlic bread goodness, and my meal is complete.
It’s a must to top the soup with just a few pinches of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a little bit of freshly ground black pepper too. It takes it over the top.
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR THIS RECIPE
There is room to personalize this Italian broccoli soup recipe a bit if you want to. Or you can just create each pot according to your current mood/cravings.
Here are a few suggestions for you …
- Saute onion along with the broccoli to add a umami element to the flavor.
- Add in other veggies, like carrots and celery.
- Use romanesco or cauliflower instead of broccoli.
- Use spinach instead of broccoli. With this option it is not necessary to mash your spinach. Simply add all of the ingredients to the pot from the get go, let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to meld the flavors, and serve.
- Substitute brown or wild rice for the white rice.
- Substitute pasta for the rice; orzo, acini di pepe, or stelline are really great choices.
- Make it a vegan dish by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
HOW TO STORE THIS DISH
Before you put your Italian broccoli soup in the refrigerator you will need to cool it completely. But then in the refrigerator it goes, and it will keep for about a week in there.
It doesn’t freeze very well with the rice in it. But if you want to freeze it without it that will work just fine. Simply portion it out into airtight containers and put it in the freezer.
When you take it out of the freezer, heat it up on the stove, and add some cooked rice to it. You can keep it in the freezer this way for about 3 months.
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Italian broccoli soup is the epitome of rustic Italian comfort food. It's tasty and satisfying. And it's good for you too.
- 1 lb broccoli, fresh, rough chopped
- 6 c chicken broth
- 3 cloves garlic, extra large, minced
- 2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 c cooked rice
- 1/2 c parmesan cheese, fresh, shredded
- extra parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- fresh ground black pepper for garnish (optional)
- Put broccoli in a soup pot and add enough of the broth to cover it.
- Add the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to the pot.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
- Cook until broccoli is soft.
- Blend 75% of the broccoli to a puree with an immersion blender.
- Stir in the rice, cheese, and remaining broth.
- Heat just until all is serving temperature. Do not continue to cook.
- Serve topped with cheese and fresh ground pepper.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 780mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 2/27/2023. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.