First whip up your pesto. Lightly blanch the asparagus [directions] and chill with icy cold water or a dip in a ice bath. Add asparagus along with olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, parm, salt, pepper, basil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and pulse gently. Scrape the runaway bits off the side and pulse again until incorporated. Viola! Pesto!
Next grab your cauliflower and start the soup!
Clean, trim, and separate your cauliflower into large florets. Blanch diced potato and cauliflower chunks for approx 15-20 minutes in shallow, boiling water. I'm in the habit of seasoning the water with some freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of kosher salt -- feel free to follow suit! Once the cauliflower is tender, remove from heat and strain in a colander. Halt the cooking process by rinsing with ice cold water or plunging florets in a bowl of ice water.
While your veggies are boiling, saute [or caramelize!] your onions with a tablespoon or so of your favorite healthy oil, adding the garlic towards the end to prevent burning. Add the cauliflower, potato, onion, and garlic to your blender or food processor and puree.
Grab a large pot and add your pureed cauliflower mixture to a cup and a half of vegetable stock. Heat to medium-high, stirring frequently and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Once heated, reduce to low and add your evaporated milk and stir. If you'd like to thin the soup at this point, feel free to add an extra half cup of veggie stock. I like left mine thick! Next step? Season to taste. I added a pinch of salt, a crank of cracked black pepper, a half-tablespoon of parsley and and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. You'll be adding pesto at the end which will deliver a huge boost of garlicky flavor -- don't worry if the soup tastes a bit plain at this point. Stir for another minute or so [until its nice and HOT!] and then remove from the burner.
Top with a heaping spoonful or two of gorgeous green asparagus pesto and a small mountain of freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese. Garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley for a pop of color. When it's time to dig in, swirl your toppings into the soup and have at it.
Garnish with parsley and red pepper flakes if desired.Any homemade or store-bought pesto will work but the asparagus pesto? Flipping delicious! Use the leftover pesto for topping pasta, paninis, flatbread pizzas, and even swirled into quiche. It's also freezer-friendly!Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!