Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total: 35 minutes
1. Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart stockpot over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onions, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once the stock is boiling, add the broccoli and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool slightly. Then puree the soup, in batches, in a blender, adding the cheese in three additions while blending (see Note). Adjust the seasoning if necessary, garnish with croutons if desired, and serve hot.
Note: Please use caution when blending hot liquids; blend only small amounts at a time, with the blender tightly covered and a kitchen towel held over the top.
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts, 4 to 6 servings