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Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan


2 bunches asparagus (about 2-1/4 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Handful fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill or basil (optional, for garnish)


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, cut the tips off of the asparagus spears and set aside.
  4. Cut the remaining spears into 1/2-inch pieces.
  5. Add the chopped asparagus (except for the tips) to the pot, along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low.
  7. Simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender.
  8. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.
  9. Cook the reserved asparagus tips for a few minutes until tender-crisp.
  10. Drain and refresh under cold water or in an ice bath. Set aside.
  11. Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches, then return the soup to the pot.)
  12. If necessary, pass the soup through a fine sieve to remove the fibers (the best way is to place the sieve over a large bowl, then use a ladle to push the soup through in circular motions).
  13. Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer.
  14. Stir in the lemon juice and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  15. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired.