Roasting cauliflower adds great depth of flavor to this velvety soup enhanced with cheddar cheese and a hint of heat from cayenne.
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken broth, more as needed (okay to substitute water)
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Core the cauliflower and break it into the florets. Transfer them to a large baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, until tender and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside, reserving a few small florets to use as garnish.
Start the soup by making a roux: Heat a large saucepan and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, sprinkle in the flour and whisk quickly, letting the mixture cook for 5 minutes until bubbling. Slowly whisk in the milk in batches, bringing the mixture to a low boil after each addition. Next, whisk in the shredded cheese and stir until melted and fully incorporated—it should be thick. Add the cayenne and black pepper and remove from the heat.
In a blender, process the cauliflower, cheese mixture, and chicken broth until smooth (you may need to do this in batches). Transfer back to the saucepan, and slowly reheat before serving. If the soup is too thick, whisk in more broth (or water) as needed. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with the reserved roasted florets.
Yields 4 servings