Broccoli Soup with Ricotta Cheese Dumplings
- Tip the ricotta into a clean tea towel and allow it to soak up the excess moisture. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a pan, add the onion(thinly sliced), leek(thinly sliced) and potato(thinly sliced), and sweat for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. While the vegetables are cooking, take the heads of broccoli and peel the stalks. With a small knife, scrape off the very tops of the florets - so you have a mound that looks like green breadcrumbs. Keep on one side.
- Finely chop the stalks and add to the vegetables in the pan. Season with salt and pepper and sweat for another 5 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft - about 20 minutes.
- In a separate pan, boil enough water to blanch the "green breadcrumbs". Put them into a sieve and dip them into the boiling water for 10-15 seconds only, just to soften them. Drain and, while still warm, crush them with the back of a knife or purée in a blender until you have a bright-green paste. Add a little water, if necessary, to loosen.
- Remove the pan of vegetables from the heat and put them into a food processor. Blitz until smooth (the soup will be quite pale). Mix the egg(beaten), ricotta and parmesan in a bowl. Keep to one side. Return the soup to the heat and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Turn down the heat to a simmer and whisk in the puréed broccoli flowers. The soup will turn bright green.
- Dip a teaspoon into hot water and scoop out little quenelles of the ricotta mixture. Drop them into the hot soup and let them rise to the surface - about 15-20 seconds. Gently ladle the soup into bowls, taking care not to break the dumplings, which will be quite fragile. Add the blanched florets and drizzle with the rest of the oil.