Italian Roasted Garlic Soup Serves 6
4 whole heads of garlic
1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 1⁄2 cups chicken stock or 3 1/2 cups broth
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans or (15 ounce) can white beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
3⁄4 teaspoon salt, fresh ground black pepper, 1 bay leaf
1⁄2 cup half-and-half (I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2) or 1/2 cup milk (I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2)
freshly grated parmesan cheese, for topping, plus chopped fresh parsley, also for topping
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350°.
Rub off some of the papery outer skins of the garlic heads but do not peel them or separate the cloves, leave the heads intact.
Slice 1/4" off the top of each garlic head.
Place the heads, cut side up, in a lightly sprayed or oiled baking dish.
Drizzle 1/2 teaspoons oil over each head.
Bake, uncovered, until golden, about 1 hour.
Cool slightly then press the whole head with your hand all at once to release the garlic pulp.
Place the pulp in a bowl and set aside.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the remaining oil.
Add onion and celery and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add reserved garlic pulp, stock, beans, basil salt, pepper and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and discard.
In a food processor or blender (or better yet, an immersion blender, which is what I used), puree soup in batches.
Return to pot and stir in half-and-half.
Simmer until flavors are blended, about 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Enjoy!