Last summer I had a delightful visit with Monica, the cheesemaker and proprietress of Al Carli, a villa in the hills near Lucca. Her villa is a sanctuary where biodynamic vineyards, ancient stones, faded goat bones and romping boar converge to create the best kind of natural magic. I'll be visiting her again this fall, but sadly I will miss her springtime soup, made with spring onions and asparagus. Like anyone who spends most of their days in a kitchen or around a farm, her version of the recipe is "a little bit of this and a little bit of that," not unlike all of my favorite family recipes! Here is a version of the soup recipe that you can count on time and again, using seasonal vegetables. This will make you enough soup for two people, a starter soup and easily scaled up.
A few glugs of good olive oil
A large handful of spring onions (or ramps or scapes), chopped coarsely
A large handful of fresh-picked asparagus, also chopped
1 quart of whey or homemade stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a tall saucepan, bring olive oil to medium heat and soften the onions. Add the asparagus and also cook until soft. Add the whey/stock and cook for about 20 minutes, bringing to a gentle boil. Puree mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender. Pour into bowls, drizzle with your best olive oil, and top with some diced chives or cress, and a dollop of soft goat cheese.
With some rustic bread and a simple salad, this is quite a beautiful, inexpensive and nutrient-rich repast.