Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup

INGREDIENTS: 1 head cauliflower
4 whole cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish
Croutons for topping (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Wash and trim the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Toss with the cloves of garlic and one tablespoon of the oil. Scrape the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and golden in spots (it will cook a bit longer in a later step).

2. Remove the garlic cloves, let them cool slightly, and finely chop.

3. In a 4- or 5-quart saucepan, heat the remaining one tablespoon olive oil and add the onion, cooking until the onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook for another minute.

4. Stir in the cauliflower and broth; bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

5. Carefully ladle about half the soup (in batches, if needed) in a blender and puree until smooth. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot – be careful as hot soup in a blender can be a recipe for disaster if the blender is overfilled. Add the milk and the cheese.

6. Stir and cook on low heat until the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

7. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley and croutons, if using.

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