This is a deceptively simple recipe - the ingredients are shown below - broccoli, salt, olive oil, garlic, barley, parsley, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and meat broth. The last ingredient was the biggest hurdle. I followed the directions for the Basic Homemade Meat Broth, which added a day to the preparation. But, I've checked ahead & I can use the remaining meat broth in other recipes later in the book & I won't have to resort to any shortcuts. It's worth the time & effort.
I had never heard of egg barley and it was referenced only obliquely in the description. Egg barley is a type of pasta, but I chose to use the pearl barley option. However, I do have a close relationship with several different types of garlic. I have grown my own garlic for the past 10 years or more - and always at least two different varieties. I have also been known to bring back a couple of bulbs of garlic from France or Italy - always make sure I stake out where I plant those cloves. Below is a photo of this year's garlic crop in early May. I will harvest in August; hang the bulbs in a shed to dry, reserve part of the crop for planting in October, pickle some and store the rest in a cold storage room for use over our long Canadian winters.
The directions call for using a container for soaking the broccoli, a sauté pan, a pot in which to boil 3 quarts of water, a food processor, a plate and, finally, a soup pot. A large work space is helpful.
The softened broccoli stalks are made into a purée in the food processor.
The purée, broth and cooked barley are added to the soup pot.
Broccoli florets are added.
The final result, with the parmigiano-reggiano spread on the surface..
This soup was a big hit with four of us, including our twin son and daughter who were home on a brief visit. The rest was enthusiastically consumed by our two-year old grandson the next day.
Next time I'll cut the florets in bigger pieces and I will likely use a bit more broccoli. The recipe calls for a "medium head" - which is at least partly in the eye of the beholder. And I will definitely make it again - likely with fresh broccoli from my garden.
This was the first soup I have made starting with preparing the broth. Thanks Marcella for giving me the opportunity.