Once asparagus starts showing up at the markets, it's officially Springtime in my book. Asparagus is often a side dish, but today we are using it front and center in a classic Roman soup, le vignole (aka spring vegetable stew) that has been infused with the flavors of the Sonoran desert.
While my suggested principal ingredient is asparagus, feel free to use a mixture of spring vegetables such as peas, leeks, caulini, and spinach to name a few. Lightly sauteéd vegetables are gently stewed in a tomatillo and serrano pepper broth until they have lost their bright green color, but not their flavor! Adjust the serrano to achieve a spiciness to your liking.
Make the vignole – Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the chopped leek and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatillos, serrano, and carrot. Stir and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not browned.
Add the wine to the pan and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Add the asparagus, cauliflower and/or broccoli, and peas and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve – Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro, baby spinach and cashew parmesan.
serves 4 - 6
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large leek, thinly sliced
- 7 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 medium tomatillos, chopped
- 1 serrano pepper, minced
- 1 large white carrot, diced
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
- 2 cups fresh caulini, cauliflower and/or broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
- 1 small zucchini, cut into half moons
- ½ cup fresh peas
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- cashew parmesan