Zuppa di asparagi (calabrian asparagus soup)

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
2 Garlic clove; minced
2 tablespoons Olive oil; extra-virgin
2 pounds Asparagus; trimmed & cut into 1" pieces
2 teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper, black
4 cups Vegetable broth; OR
4 cups Low-sodium chicken broth
4 Eggs
½ cup Parmesan; grated, plus extra for serving
6 slices Italian bread; toasted
-- We Called It Macaroni
by Nancy Verde Barr
Alfred A. Knopf

In a large saucepan, cook the garlic in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until bright green, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and Vegetable Broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the asparagus are tender, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with ½ cup of the cheese. Reduce the heat to low so that the soup is no longer simmering, and very slowly ladle about 2 cups of the hot soup into the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Once incorporated, gradually stir the egg mixture into the soup in the saucepan. Increase the heat to moderately low and cook the soup, whisking constantly, until it just thickens, about 8 minutes. Do not allow the soup to boil or the eggs will curdle.

Remove from the heat.

Place one slide of toasted bread into each soup bowl. Ladle the hot soup on top and serve with additional grated cheese.

Note: Thickening soup with bread is typical of rustic Italian cooking, in which nothing goes to waste. The toasts may be made from day-old or slightly stale bread. Serve with a Sauvignon Blanc.

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