Stems can be woody near the bottoms, but with this pureed recipe, almost all of the stem can be used.
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 - 2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
8 oz. fresh asparagus
4 oz. Neufchatel (low fat cream cheese)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil, then add the onion, garlic and celery and saute until soft. Stir in the wine and continue to cook until the wine is dissipated.
Stir in the broth, water, asparagus, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, until asparagus is tender.
Remove the bay leaf and blend vegetables, along with remaining ingredients until smooth. Add more broth or water if needed for desired consistency. Taste, and adjust seasonings, as desired.