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Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon shallots
1 tablespoon fresh garlic
½ cup chopped leeks (only the white part)
2 pinches fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Optional garnish: pesto and fennel tarallis

Remove cauliflower leaves and rinse. Cut florets into medium-size pieces. Place in covered 3-quart pot with stock, salt and bay leaf and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. (Don’t let pieces get mushy.) When finished, remove bay leaf.

In a medium saucepan, add butter, shallots, garlic and leeks and sauté over low heat for 3 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add sautéed vegetables to cooked cauliflower pot. In batches, purée the combined cauliflower mixture in a blender. Be careful when hot. Once puréed, pour back into soup pot and add nutmeg, lemon juice, Tabasco and whipping cream. Cook at a low simmer for about 20 minutes.

Before serving, add more salt and freshly ground pepper, if needed. Garnish with a dollop of pesto and serve with fennel tarallis, Italian love knots, available at Jimmy’s Food Store. This soup also makes a delicious pasta sauce.

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